Wednesday, December 1, 2010


I have come to accept the fact that, living in China for two years, miscommunications will inevitably occur. Ordering food at a restaurant, getting the right data plan on my cell phone, telling a taxi driver my destination. Usually, the consequences aren't too serious. Occasionally, however, it result in some strange and awkward situations. For example...

There is a student outside of my class who I have gotten to know, and over dinner one night last week, he invited me to play basketball with his classmates. I agreed.

On Monday, the same student phoned me and asked if I could stay after school the following day, since students were being released early. His classmates would be waiting.

Tuesday afternoon, classes ended, he called me to confirm I was actually coming. I said yes, and before heading over, I organized the library, cleaned up the classroom, went back to my apartment to change and grab a bite to eat. This whole time, I kept receiving urgent texts and phone calls from him, asking me if I were on my way.

If they were just playing basketball, why the urgency? I should've picked up on the signs.

Thirty minutes later, I finally show up at the courts, but they were no where to be found. I called him back, and over the phone, he sounded puzzled when I mentioned where I was waiting. He asked for me to come to the classroom instead.

Waiting for me at the classroom--60 students, quietly, eager, expectant.

I was not going to play basketball after all. Nope. That would have been too easy.

Instead, I was going to give an guest lecture. In my basketball shoes, shorts, and jersey. No preparation. Impromptu...

[Edit] Apparently, lost in translation was the fact that he wanted me to come talk to his classmates, who don't have a foreign English teacher, not that he wanted to play basketball.

Yay! Thank you, China!

In a different instance...

In a conversation with four female students during Library Hour today, a girl who had stayed pretty quiet the whole time, asked abruptly, "When you first sex?"

Hmmm... She couldn't possibly have meant what I just heard. She must have mistaken that word for another word. Another miscommunication, of course. I asked her to clarify.

"Sex. Guy, girl. When do you first do sex? First time?"

Ah, she did mean that after all. No miscommunication. Awkward.


Terrence said...

i really like the pairing :). i dont understand the first miscommunication at all though.

Gang said...

I don't understand either. Crucial words were left out in the conversations.

devon said...

wow, basketball? Waaaaaay far, sex, farther man.

pyang said...

i hope you responded "day one".

Aaron said...

was it awkward b/c you still have your VCard?

Gang said...


good one, aaron.