Sunday, August 17, 2008

Just had a busy-ish weekend- went to the Chinese Convention in Taichung on Friday and Sunday and worked on Saturday. It was nice. It was in a really comfortable auditorium in a high school- padded chairs and everything! And perfect AC- not too hot or too cold.

I always get stressed out battling crowds- even at the convention it feels like everyone is super-pushy by western standars, but of course by Taiwan standards they're not.

Today was kind of fun- through a random string of events I would up sitting with the visiting niece of one of my friends- she is about 11, and the sweetest girl. Just diligent and cute. She had already been to the convention in the south and thought there would be a different drama at each one, and she was like, "I think this is the same one!" A little later- "I remember that man! It's the same!" I didn't help matters with my Chinese- at first I thought she meant, the actors were different, and I said yes, different. Then I changed my tune...

I also chatted for a long time with the sisters on my other side- they introduced themselves and it's the first time I feel like I've had a really long (like 20-min) conversation with someone I've just met and totally understand what they're saying and feel like I'm able to express (sometimes imperfectly) whatever I want to. It was pretty cool. Like I felt like I made a new friend, all on my own, without anyone to translate. I hope that makes sense. It's weird, enever I have a long conversation, I'm afraid I'll run out of words or something. But I didn't!

I still feel like conversations are carried by people asking me questions and me answering them instead of me asking questions. Partially this is a problem I have in English too, and partially it's that I don't know for sure the right sentence structures to use to ask a lot of the getting-to-know-you questions (like, I know the words for what do you do for work but I don't know if that's how you really ask it in Chinese) and I wouldn't be able to understand a lot of the answers (unless you're a teacher or a clerk...) But it works out OK here because people genuinely want to know all about the wai-guo-ren.

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