This is also a perfect example of a fairly easy story that had one phrase I spent an hour trying to sort out, and a perfect example of the reason I started this blog in the first damn place – you start reading and then one word trips you up and you can’t get past it. 99% sure I figured it out, but don’t hesitate to correct me in the comments if you have intelligence to the contrary. The word was 香草娃娃 xiāng cǎo wá wá. Uh, well, xiāng cǎo means “vanilla” and wá wá is “baby”, so… vanilla baby? Really? In the story, 香草娃娃 is used as a toy’s name, so I thought, maybe there’s a toy called a Vanilla Baby? Anyway, it turns out an out-of-use definition for 香草 is “old and dependable”. Ah hah – “old, dependable baby doll”. That makes sense.
There’s one other very useful phrase here that’s very commonly used in everyday language: 太过分了！Directly translated, this means “Too excessive!”, but this phrase doesn’t usually actually refer to a large amount of things. It’s more often used to refer to a circumstance or someone’s behavior, like, “That is just too much to bear!”. If someone was very mean to you, you could say, “太过分了!” or if an interview process was super rough and you got raked over the coals, also “太过分了!”
Enjoy this one, and consider it good practicing in very colloquial story building.