Sometimes I think back to my time in China with NSLI-Y, and I laugh so hard. There are so many stories and adaptations that I never blogged because I hardly realized they were happening. Even everything I did blog, I don’t even need to go back and read it to remember, I just think of it sometimes.
Like that time when I was trying to get home without breaking curfew, but I hadn’t eaten, so I stopped at KFC, ordered a sandwich and an ice cream. But the ice cream machine was broken! So I had to sit. And wait. When I finally got my food, I hurried to the bus stop, and even though it was 8:30pm, my bus was more crowded than ever! I had to push, shove, and “Excuse me” my way off the bus’s front door at the stop for home, run through the dark across the street, up three flights of stairs, and through the door with about 3 minutes to spare. And all I got for my efforts were a worried host dad and some melted ice cream.
Or that time when I accidentally broke the lock on my host family’s bathroom door. I knocked awkwardly from the inside, unsure of what to say, and my host mom thought it was someone at the front door. When I finally got her attention to me, I had to explain in broken Chinese what the problem was… I knew the word for “broken”, but not for “lock”. “Just open the door. Just come out. What’s the problem?” “Well you see… Umm… Uhh…”. And since my host dad wasn’t home yet, they had to have a downstairs neighbor come up and break the latch to open the door, and my host dad bought a new lock the next day. I felt so bad!
And then there was that school security guard who started giving us a hard time about using the south gate. He wouldn’t let us in, so we’d have to go all the way around the school to the the north gate. He also wouldn’t let us out that gate. I STILL don’t understand why! We’d see him open the gate to let out a car or a teacher, and then he’d see us coming and shut it again! Maybe he just didn’t understand why 21 Americans had invaded his school during summer vacation… They finally explained it to him, and he started to let us use the gate again, but you could tell he wasn’t happy about it.
There was also that time when… Well, it was more of a day when. My last full day, to be precise. My host sister took me to an “American” restaurant where we ordered steak, which in China comes with spaghetti and a fried egg. I also ordered vanilla ice cream, which for some still undetermined reason came with cucumber in it. And the drinks we got were indescribably bad! Then we went to the mall, and I passed the suitcases knowing in my gut that I should buy one, but I was stupid and I didn’t, so I wound up calling home at my 3am freaking out because I couldn’t make all my junk fit in the bags I had. Luckily, my host family was kind enough to donate a bag the next morning, but explaining the problem took a little work.
And there were conga lines and sing-alongs in class, and teachers who told us not to worry because we “didn’t come to China to take a test.” And grandmothers’ grandmothers playing basketball in heaven. And accidental Coca Cola spills. And that man I would hear shouting right around the same time every day. (I’m still not sure why he was shouting. Maybe he was selling stuff?) And my week of marching band withdrawal. And typhoons, Fancy Friday, birthday watermelons named Shuai Gua. And of course, George. 🙂