Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Silly China!


There are so many funny things that happen here.

#1) This is the picture I was taking when the girl shrieked once she found out I was from America. I was trying to be incognito as I took a picture of this tea kiosk. I wanted the picture especially for my mom. She drinks morning tea, afternoon tea, and evening tea. Sometimes she forgets about her tea, and it gets cold!

What Southerner would want cold tea? Good thing microwaves were invented. I’m not sure if my parents would have much need for their microwave if mom didn’t have to heat up her cold, hot tea. Anyway, not only is she a tea drinker but she also works in the gastroenterology unit of her hospital and is a huge advocate of getting enough fiber in one’s diet. So nonetheless, this picture was perfect for her.

#2) On Tuesdays I pick up our pay from our office / school base about 20 minutes away by bus. Cheny is pregnant and is due in May. She is ADORABLE and buys everything she needs over the internet. (That seems to be the way to do it around here. Everything in a regular store is so expensive.) She even bought a super cute “baby on board” window tag to hang from the back of her car. Thinking about it, this TOTALLY cracks me up because it’s not like ANY of the other drivers in Qingdao will be able to read what it says!

So the funny part is that she had on a new purchase this past Tuesday.

I noticed it immediately and asked her about it. It seems in China pregnant mothers are very concerned about radiation poisoning, especially from microwaves and computers. Radiation from the outside world is very dangerous for the growing baby. So… they wear radiation vests! Cheny ordered hers from the internet. She got the less expensive style for 100 Yuan, but she said that some of the higher quality, thicker ones are about 1000 Yuan. She laughed and said that the cheap one was fine for her. I told her pregnant mothers didn’t wear those in America, and she was very surprised. I asked if I could take a picture and she gladly obliged.

#3) Ha! Love this one! Our college students have to be ready to talk, write, read, and listen to ANYTHING in English. One of our students, Holly, has her IELTS test in a week and a half and is frantically practicing and studying basically around the clock. During our break one day she was talking through some potential speaking questions. She was talking about KTV. KTV is a place where people LOVE to go sing karaoke. They have these KTVs everywhere. Holly asked if we had them in America and I said no. She was shocked. I told her that people usually go to bars/pubs to sing karaoke or some people just buy a machine of their own. She couldn’t believe it and then began to say, “Well, what if a business man wants to…” (this is where the conversation starts).

Assuming she was going to ask about a businessman renting a KTV space, I blurted out, “Noo, that wouldn’t happen. Americans are shy.” I know that ‘shy’ isn’t the perfect word in describing why most Americans don’t blurt out, “My Heart Will Go On” in front of their fellow colleagues (whereas Chinese college students and business people do) but, no other word came to me at that moment.

Her response was a mix of astonishment and disbelief. “Americans are shy?

... Americans are shy?” She exchanged some comments back and forth in Chinese with fellow student Ben, and then shot back, “What about Lady Gaga?? Isn’t she American?” I chuckled to myself, envision her outfit when she performed for the NBC Today Show this summer, and obviously started to agree that Lady Gaga indeed is not shy. Holly carried on her exchange with Ben. Soon their conversation stopped and she tried to disprove my theory once more, “What about Brad??!!” HA!

#4) Last one. At the beginning this same class I asked the students some brainteaser type questions at which they were allowed to call out the answers. It turned into a competitive game. The first of seven questions was, “Approximately how many languages are spoken in the world?” (7,000) and the second was, “Which is the most widely spoken language in the world?” (Mandarin) (I didn’t think of these questions, it was in their book and the teacher’s manual gave me the answers. I let them think I was just TOTALLY smart.)

It took them forever to figure out the first answer, even after me totally reenacting Price is Right games stuck in my head, but Ben quickly shouted out “Chinese” for the second answer. I told them that Chinese wasn’t specific enough. I needed to know which kind of Chinese.

After a few seconds of confusion Holly desperately wanted to steal the point from Ben and so called out, “Ordinary Chinese!” (Seriously??) She actually even tried to defend herself as being right!

I eventually had to GIVE them the answer and even spell it for them on the board. I made them research what “other” language people speak in the southern part of the country.

Silly China!