On an off day, one of those you wish you could just blend right into the woodwork:
Fie! Those [foreign?] teachers are at it again. Disrupting my morning breakfast at the Golden Arches… granted I probably shouldn’t be eating there anyway.
Harmless as could be, there I sat eating my mis-ordered double chicken (apparently my ‘chicken’ sounds like ‘pork’ OR the fact that I’m rocking an expanding beard, combined with the expansive cultural knowledge of my moderately salaried, most likely university graduated fast food server, curtailed my mistaken foreign identity from consuming a properly spoken ‘pork’… Ok, most likely the second hypothesis is reading too far into the situation… but within the realm of plausibility) breakfast sandwich. My headbuds were in to enjoy simple tunes with a simple meal so I didn’t hear them approach.
They were two students, most likely of the high school or university age. Before I knew what was happening, I was helping them with their ‘homework’ which apparently was to take a picture with a foreigner.
I have some thoughts on this:let’s just say that after living here for mire than five years, the whole ‘foreigner’ thing is getting a bit old. It’s enough with the stares every day, but unsolicited conversations and photographs put me over the top.
At least they asked. I pretty much had to oblige, don’t want to come across as mean, but I wonder how a Chinese-Chinese in this situation would act. I mean… once two jackassess turned around on an escalator, saw I was a foreigner, pulled out a cell phone camera, took a photo, all while I was looking directly at them. The bastards didn’t say hello, didn’t even smile, and then turned away, ignoring me completely. In a word, disrespectful. And exactly the reason why I never take photos of people while traveling in foreign places, unless I have their consent.
So bah humbug, and let me go about in peace. And a little food for thought for Chinese out there: if every third person you saw walking down the street stared at you, stopped you ‘to practice their oral Chinese’ or screamed out hello in Chinese because hey, they see that you are Chinese looking and most likely speak Chinese- ask yourself: how many days it would take before you grew tired of excess attention?
So… back to the main theme at hand. In theory, the homework seems like a good idea, but the ratio of Chinese to foreigners is nowhere near even. And teachers, I’d like to point out that all foreigners don’t speak English. Yes, hard to believe, but still true. One reason for me to pick my French back up: I can pretend not to understand while spitting out French, leaving the excessive interaction with random strangers at an impasse.
Evil, I know. But it helps my digestion…