1) “but there are MANY old, dead, smart Chinese men…”
Explanation: One of our college students, Holly, a great student and a professed lover of history (she even could remember who King Henry VIII was in class one day!), took us to eat at one of her favorite restaurants just outside of the East campus (pronounced, please, in Chinese-English as East campers). On the walk, Brad was talking about the mountains in and around the city of Qingdao. He remembered my dad explaining that one of the mountains around here had something to do with Confucius, but couldn’t remember which one. He asked Holly. Holly did not know who Confucius was. Here’s how the conversation pretty much went down,
Brad: Yeah, Confucius, you know, the really smart old guy.
Holly: I don’t know Confucius.
Dana: He was the very good man and was very smart and was a big part of Chinese history
Holly: Oh, well maybe that is his English name and I only know his Chinese name.
Dana: Oh, right. (thinking I’m being sooo supportive….)
Brad: Come on, he’s really old and really smart …
Holly: Oh, he is alive now?
Brad: No, he is dead.
Holly: laughing, shaking her head, and pretty much thinking we’re ridiculous Americans, but there are MANY old, DEAD, smart Chinese men.
2) Riddle: An English speaking American and a native Chinese speaker try to communicate in a shop in China. What language do they speak? ……..Spanish, of course! Explanation: Brad was eyeing something in one small shop and was trying to ask a question about it. The Chinese man in the shop tried to talk to Brad in English, but was having a difficult time so he asked Brad if he spoke Spanish. Brad said he did a little, so he and the Chinese man spoke in broken Spanish instead. They were able to communicate enough to understand each other. Thank you to Spanish teachers everywhere!
3) On Sundays Brad and I both have tutoring classes. We have noticed subtle differences between cultures here and in the U.S. recorded in the workbooks that these classes use. Both of my classes are mix of grades 4-9, though the majority of the kids are in 6th grade. I teach two levels of English, but in the lower level the students were learning the word ‘preference’ and had to choose which beverages listed were their preference. Beer was one of the choices along with milk, soda, fruit juice, etc. I thought that was pretty funny – then came Brad’s class.
One of Brad’s Sunday tutoring classes is comprised of four (two girls and two boys) 2nd graders. Preparing for his most recent class, he was looking through the teacher’s manual for suggestions about the lesson. On the top of the “Unit 2” page, in a shaded box, was the heading In this unit the pupils learn to understand: (obviously the objectives of the lesson… so very important)
Don’t forget (the potatoes).
My head hurts.
Damn. My new jeans.
I want to sell (this necklace).
Damn, I should have been teaching that lesson! What does Brad know about new jeans?!