So today I got to experience every American teen’s life-long dream–to participate in Chinese military training. This was really in my top ten list of what I wanted to do in China, you know?
I mean, it’s not that it was hard, just incredibly pointless. We just stood really straight in a salute for a long time, and then went from that position to standing to one foot out to standing. Then,
squat, stand, squat, stand, squat (etc), then,
-puts hands on brim of imaginary hat- , normal, -put hands on brim of imaginary belt- , normal, -put hands on different section of imaginary belt- , normal.
I don’t know it, it all seemed pretty pointless. The guy didn’t really know what to do with us, so at a few points we just all sat down and listened to him sing random music…? While he was talking to us?(I’m not sure who he was talking to) no one was paying attention, everyone was talking the whole time and he didn’t really seem to care. Then some older teacher-looking people came in and talked for a very long time (while everyone talked over them), and we went out and marched in the rain. Other classes of younger kids were also outside marching, and they all looked at me. I wouldn’t have stood out so much if I had gotten to march in the line of people almost my height, but of course that was a ‘boys only’ line, so I had to just be a head taller than everyone else in my line. Talk about obvious. It was really funny though, because none of us foreigners had any idea what was going on, we just had to watch everyone else and guess what was going to happen next.
After a little more classroom time, it was time for lunch. We waited with one of the teachers until we were taken into the cafeteria-like-eating-room, which was quite a walk away. Eating was just the beginning of the actually fun part of the day.
Midori, my little Japanese friend, is possibly the most entertaining person I have met in my whole life. Her English isn’t very good at all…I mean, it’s getting better, but I’m one of the few people who can communicate with her in our group. Make that the only person. Anyhow, I think it all started when I took a bite of some mystery-meat (cause that’s what all meat is at this point) and reacted because to me it was incredibly spicy. Tasted the spiciest of anything I had eaten in my life. After my big…uhm… spicy fit? I told everyone “don’t eat it! It’s too spicy!” which, of course, made everyone try.
And, of course, no one else found it spicy. Guess I ate a chili or something, I don’t know.
Anyways, Midori is sitting next to me, and she starts to laugh while pulling out her translator. She types in some Japanese word and then looks at me and says “You are…” and points at the word ‘fool’. Underneath that is ‘idiot’. At first I’m offended, but now I’m pretty sure she meant it lovingly. A term of endearment, I suppose.
Anyhow, I turn to her and say “You are a fool, too!”
Midori: “You are crazy!”
Miranda: “I know. We are both crazy!”
Miranda: “You -point- and I -point- are crazy”
Midori: “no, you are crazy!” etc.
I tease her because her English is so bad, and she tells me “I may not speak English, but I have a… – looks up in translator-…LIVE!” And yes, live, not life. Which cracked us all up, because she was so excited about saying it.
This, of course, got us talking about languages and who spoke what. Being the stereotypically not-interesting-American, didn’t have much to say in this regard because, well, let’s see, I speak English and that’s pretty much it. My Mandarin isn’t good enough to really count by most people’s standards…well, except Midori’s. She said she could speak Japanese, English, Chinese, and Korean. I think she speaks as much (if not less) Chinese and Korean as English, so I wouldn’t really count those. But she would apparently (after much arguement, which I lost because I “am a fool”). Pauline won with five languages, French, Swiss-German, German, English, and learning Chinese. But Pauline is not the person of this post, so back to Midori.
One of Midori’s funniest..quirks, is that she randomly asks what words are. Words that have absolutely nothing to do with anything at all. Out of the blue from this conversation, she asks me “Over the word ass what?”
I looked at her, trying not to laugh, “what?”
“Over the word ass what?”
Now I was laughing, and so were Pauline and May.
We go back and forth like this, and finally Midori pulls out her handy-dandy translator, and points to the word “earth”…. “you’re asking ‘over the world is what?'” “yesh!”
“Space! Ohhh. okay!”
We sat in this library for around two and a half hours after lunch (which apparently we get to do everyday, fun!), during which I translated to Midori everything that Brett and Nick (our teachers, from Canada and USA, respectively) asked her. It was hilarious though, because Brett would say something to Midori and she would have no idea what he said, but then I would say it slower and…I don’t know, in the way that I communicate with her and she would say “OHHH!” and then answer the question. She’s a very funny girl. She’s always very sleepy, so she decided to take a second nap (she had taken one earlier that day, and when she woke up I taught her the word ‘nap’. Apparently she didn’t fully get it because later on in the day she looked it up in her translator and went “ohhh! Now I understand! Nap! I know!”). She lay down on one of the library benches, clutching a pillow (“cushion! this is cushion!”) to sleep, which gave someone (I’m not sure who) the idea to cover her with the pillows that were velcrowed to the benches all over the library. I will post pictures of this later, because it was hilarious. Once she was totally covered, making faint muffling animal-like noises, we found a feather duster and proceeded to tickle her. I wanted to video, but couldn’t figure out how to and my camera was dying at this point…to attempt to make it plain, everytime we poked her, she made a sound that resembled a dying cat’s meow. Midori is VERY ticklish. And is still just as funny when being tickled, when her hair was being dusted she said “stop! I am beautiful!”
Man, I feel like I really cannot do this story justice, considering it was the hardest I have laughed in a very long time. The kind of laugh where everything hurts and you want to stop, but you can’t cause it’s just too damn funny.
At some point during the day:
Midori: “I rove you”
Miranda: “you love me?”
Midori: -laughs- “just kidding!”