October 17, 2009

While Waiting for Lunch

We often get food to go from a street vendor (he cooks outside under a tent during the warm season before moving inside during the winter) and bring it home to eat. And we always get the same thing from him. As I was waiting for the order, a nice elderly lady decided to strike up a conversation to pass the time. (All in Chinese of course)

Lady: Where are you from? (As she approaches closer and closer to my face)

Cook: Russia? (As he tastes to sauce to make sure it's good and tasty)

Me: America (backing away to reestablish my personal space bubble)

Lady: Are you a teacher here? (pointing to our university and stepping into the bubble space again)

Me: (unable to think straight with my personal space violated and struggling to understand her Chinese) Yes.

Lady: What do you teach? (slowly repeating the question to help me understand)

Me: I'm an English teacher.

One-legged Bystander: You're Chinese is very good.

Me: No, it's not. It's terrible.

Lady: (gesturing a large pregnant belly) Will your wife come her today?

Me: No.

Lady: (again gesturing the large pregnant belly) Her Chinese is very good, and yours is terrible. (she says terrible as she swats her hand gesturing)

Me: Agreed.

Chinese does come hard at times, especially those time when you're just not ready to speak Chinese and you're hungry. And this time my personal space kept being invaded making my Chinese a bumbling mess. It was good to get some practice and she spoke slow enough to understand most of what she said. Now time to go home and learn some more vocabulary, but first let's eat!

BTW: The same two dishes were great as always.

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