Recovering from last week’s mishap means this week has been a little quieter, but quiet in China is rarely quiet. That being said I’ve been taking it easy and the little things have been my source of entertainment.
Following last week’s Ebike mishap my students (who are mostly about 6 and 7 years old) have been very caring and well behaved, checking in regularly at the beginning of class to see how I’m doing. One student, whose English name is John, has been particularly attentive. After the initial shock of seeing me with my fingers bandaged he’s made sure to have a quiet word with me before each class. The weather cooled slightly this week and on Tuesday morning John approached me looking concerned that I was not wearing a cardigan. He rubbed my bare arm and asked “Hannah, aren’t you cold?” I told him no, my home is a very cold place, so China doesn’t feel so bad. He looked intrigued. “A cold place?”. I nodded. “Are you a Bei ji person?” he asked me. “Beijing?” I repeated. He laughed and slowed down what he was saying, knowing my Chinese isn’t the best. “Bei ji is a cold cold place”, he told me knowingly.
I glanced at my Chinese co worker for assistance. “The North Pole,” she confirmed.
Another student showed his care for the class by trying to woo them with music, volunteering himself to sing an English song at the end of class. The first time came about after we had been singing “Twinkle Twinkle” as a class and my co teacher asked did anyone have anymore song ideas for the class. This child, William, volunteered himself, swiftly coming to the front to showcase his talents. Suddenly, with brand new words which mimicked the original sounds almost exactly, came the unmistakable sound of Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep”. William’s face was focused as he sang those words with passion; “we cuddy haddy awwww haww, rowy intha deeehayeeep”. His classmates mimed nails on a blackboard while I tried to maintain an encouraging face and clap along to the worst rendition I’d ever heard, holding in my tears of laughter with each note he squawked.
Not scarred enough from his first experience, the next day William got up and sang his own rendition of Akon’s ‘Dangerous’.
Another caring face appeared this week when I was waiting in traffic, leaning casually on the front of my Ebike and staring at the new polish on my toenails. Suddenly someone tapped my Ebike and when I looked up it was the door-opener (who for anyone who missed last weeks nonsense, hit me with his car door and swiftly accompanied me to the hospital).
As I looked up he smiled, and for a blissful moment I forgot his plastic sandals, beer belly and lack of spatial awareness and considered what a wonderfully romantic story it would be if we met and eloped after he hit me with his car door. He told me he’d spotted me coming down the road and came over to see how I’d been doing. He asked were my injuries better and I assured him they were and thanked him once again for bringing me to the hospital. Then we said an awkward goodbye and caught one last over-the-shoulder glimpse as he trundled away in his navy flip flops across the zebra crossing, no doubt on his way back to grab another handful of those delicious sunflower seeds.
I’ve spent some time in the park this week, contemplating the good weather and trying to get a start on studying some 600 characters for my upcoming Chinese exam. One of the days I managed to spot a man who was washing in the park’s river, standing casually on the deck which overlooks the water, basin full of river water, luxuriously bathing himself. Sadly my morals (and lack of an effective zoom lens) stopped me from sharing the image with you.
As I mentioned it’s the quirky things which have aided my recovery this week. These are in abundance in China; from the excessively tacky, to the wonderfully clever (a small river in the middle of a restaurant).
If none of these fail to entertain, a dodgy translation is never far away.
If anyone can offer suggestions as to what “Grazy foretaste” means, you may put an end to many heated discussions.