G.K Chesterton once said, “An adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered. An inconvenience wrongly considered.” There have been so many funny mishaps and inconveniences turned into adventures in China. Here are few of my favorites.
Some Chinese students in an English club invited us to spend the afternoon with them. As we were strolling around the campus, we came to the spot where they said they “scream English” in the morning. Having no idea what they meant by that, we asked them to demonstrate. I braced myself for the worst thinking perhaps they scream English obscenities as an emotional vent. However, I was completely unprepared for the full volume, “AAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH” that resounded for great length across the campus. Apparently they practice singing vowel sounds in the mornings.
This demonstration naturally inspired Andrew, Kathryn, and I to teach the Chinese students “Do-Re-Mi” from the Sound of Music. Just picture three American English teachers singing “do a deer” to Chinese students with the students repeating it back. “So, a needle pulling thread” caused quite a bit of confusion and laughter. Thank you Julie Andrews for giving us inspiration for an impromptu English lesson.
Another group of English students showed us around the third campus one day and then took us to dinner. As we were trying some street food, I held up a stick with some mysterious substance on it and asked what it was. “A snake,” is what I heard so I promptly screamed and dropped the food. I don’t mess around with snakes whether they be alive, dead, fried, baked, broiled, or dipped in chocolate. What the student had actually said was “a snack.” Oops.
I appreciate the different things I can rely on the American teachers for: Andrew for directions, Kathryn for a shoulder to cry on, and Jacky to watch my little kitten when I’m gone for the day. A couple of days ago I headed out in the early a.m. for a full day bike ride and gave my apartment key to Jacky so he could feed Oliver, my cat, for the day. To quote him, Jacky was “tickled pink” that I would trust him with Oliver and I was tickled pink that I could leave and not worry about him. Jacky went out to dinner around the time I was supposed to arrive back, so he considerately left my key hanging on the door…..with “KEY IN BAG” written on said bag. Good thing everybody else in the building speaks Chinese.
Last Wednesday I was enjoying a leisurely morning when I received a call at 10:30 asking if I had a class at 10:10. Nope, not me I said, hung up, and then went to double check the schedule to see which poor teacher had forgotten about their class. That poor teacher was me. Turned out my class was NOT at 3 p.m. like I had thought. Flustered and nearly an hour late for my own class, I had my students finish their introductions. One student introduced himself as Qwerty, like the keyboard, and gave quite a thorough introduction. When he had finished, Qwerty informed me he wasn’t in the class he had just dropped in. Thank you, Qwerty.
The blood moon must have affected my brain because the day before this incident I spent nearly an hour combing my entire apartment for my keys (the door automatically locks so I knew I had to have had them to get inside). Kathryn even came to aid me in my search but finally I had to admit defeat. I went to go knock on another teacher’s door and then saw my keys hanging from my lock where I had accidentally left them the night before. Later that afternoon, I was going to teach my class and couldn’t find the campus let alone my classroom. When I finally did arrive, I discovered that my class started an hour later than I thought. I soon faced 25 expectant faces all with their Spoken English textbook out and ready on their desks-something which I somehow never received. Hungry and tired after class, I went and quickly ordered street food only to discover after they had prepared the food that I had about the equivalent of two cents. Awkward.
These are but a few of my China adventures. Life here is never dull especially when you stand out from the crowd like we do. The other day, Kathryn went to go play guitar in a park and ended up being hooked up to a microphone and asked to play “Jingle Bells.” In the middle of October. In China. Only in China.