• Dialogue

    by  • December 17, 2007 • China • 2 Comments

    Cultural Differences

    Me: Eventually, maybe Chinese will become the world’s most popular language.

    Ma: I hope so. But at that time, I am very old.

    Me: My father is a music teacher.

    Ying: Oh. (brief pause.) My parents are farmers.

    David: Are you a member of a political party?
    Me: No, I’m not. I prefer to be independent.

    David: I know there are donkeys and elephants. Clinton – he was a donkey. Is there a communist party in your country?

    Me: Yes, but it’s very small.

    Me: My wife is a mei ji hua ren (Chinese American). (pointing to Sarah)

    Student: Oh, I see.

    Me: My brother-in-law, you know, he’s also Chinese American, and…

    Student: Oh, really? I wonder what he looks like!

    Things I’ve said about food in the last four months that I’d never said before in my life:

    “Those snails were really good.”

    “Even the brain was delicious!”

    “Wow, this beer is 4.3% alcohol!” (In a voice that connotes surprise at how much rather than how little that is.)

    “I thought the turtle was OK, but the shell is really hard to eat.”

    “Let’s go to McDonald’s for lunch today.”

    Yes, Some Things About Our Lives Have Changed A Little

    “Joel, this bowl is so dirty it looks like it’s from a restaurant.” – Sarah

    “We can help you change the money; it doesn’t matter if it’s legal, illegal, whatever.” – anon.

    “I saw two white guys today!” -me



    Sarah grew up in Colorado but considers herself a Chinese-Malaysian-English-American. Her favorite thing to do is read in bed, or some sunny spot on a couch.

    2 Responses to Dialogue

    1. Mark Heng
      December 17, 2007 at 3:15 pm

      Too funny…Did you tell them the Chinese American brothers in law were badass cool dudes?

      Can I request a post about McDonald’s in China? Do they serve anything different? Does the ultimate symbol of capitalism cause any comment? Does it taste the same?

    2. Matt Basinger
      January 11, 2008 at 6:29 pm

      what a great post – love hearing the things you are experiencing!


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