Michael’s WednesdayPosted: September 2, 2010
There’s not much that tastes better after a good workout than an ice cold Gatorade. After my morning workout I wandered around our campus to look for a shop that sold such a drink. After checking in three different stores, I stumbled upon the shop that sold that delicious American drink. Green tea flavored Gatorade? Sure, why not? It actually wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. I’m pretty sure I’ll stick to the fruit punch flavor I picked up as a backup, but it could have been worse.
Three minutes after I left the shop with the green tea Gatorade, I new black sedan came up slowly behind me, then rolled down its window. The Chinese Mafia has been in the news a lot lately, and our city in particular has made more headlines in connection with their dealings than just about any other in the country, and this comically went through my mind as the window slowly rolled down to reveal a very excited teacher. To set the stage for what happened next, you need to imagine the slightest drizzle of rain you have ever seen. I mean, such a negligible amount of rain that you aren’t really sure it’s constantly coming down. “You shouldn’t be walking in the rain, would you like a ride?” the school professor asked in Chinese. This is a pretty good insight for you into the general culture here. A) He didn’t offer the 87 billion other students who were walking three feet away from me. B) I was a foreigner, an American to be precise. So many people here are willing to go way way out of their way to accommodate and care for foreigners and particularly Americans. In other parts of the world where the driver might speed up to splash water on an American, here they will give you their umbrella or give you a lift.
For lunch, I met 4 students on the way to the cafeteria, who might have been 4 of the friendliest students I’d ever met. Actually, the reason I had such a good time with them was because their Chinese pronunciation was so clear that I understood 99.9% of everything they said, and they in turn understood me. That fact alone put the meeting at a 9.0 out of 10. So what is something that might be assumed of most Americans over here? When they asked for my phone number to meet up again the following day for lunch in a restaurant that specializes in on of their hometown’s style of cooking, one of the guys asked me, “Do you have an iPhone 3Gs or iPhone 4?” He didn’t bother to ask whether or not I had an iPhone at all, but rather jumped straight to asking about which model I had. “Er… 3Gs,” I said. Dang it.