Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Chinese Roomate

I was introduced to a young Chinese woman (24) who was also looking for an apartment. I jumped at the change to live with her for two reasons. One, to remove myself from being under the thumb of my employer, and second to learn more Chinese! Her name is Gao Lina and she works as a liaison between the pharmacy and doctors in hospitals.

So far, if we are both home, we spend the evening munching on fruit with dictionaries open attempting to communicate. It is slow and frustrating, but also hilarious at times when we have misunderstood each other and then realize what we are really trying to say. For example, tonight, I was trying to tell her a story in my broken Chinese about a class that I had today. I explained that I had four students all 7 years old. They started to fight a bit and then three of them started crying really loudly. I said that I couldn’t teach them anymore so we just made paper airplanes for the rest of class. With a perplexed look, she asked me why 7 year olds learning English? I said that their parents want them to learn English. She exclaimed, “They have parents?!?!” I said of course. Then finally…she repeated my original story and I realized that I had indeed begun by saying that I had four 70 year old students that got in a fight and cried and then we made paper airplanes instead of having class. Oh my, what an image.

The other most recent miscommunication highlight was when she tried to tell me that I had a huge booger in my nose. But, I was in a hurry and just left the apartment pretending to understand. It wasn’t until a half hour later when I made the discovery in the reflection of a store window that my brain pieced all the words together.

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