Not gonna tell me what to do…

… and vice versa. 

Living in another country can always lead to some entertaining, frustrating, or absurd situations. One of the “norms” in the culture in my small town (and China as a whole so I’ve been told) is the gal tells her fellow what to do. 

It isn’t a discussion, or a debate, just a simple, “You’s my man, now jump.” However, Bella doesn’t treat me like this. We have a back, and forth. I don’t make her decisions, and she doesn’t make mine. 

Now, as I have mentioned before, I live in an area with a population of 1,000,000 people. There are only two registered foreigners here. If someone wants the foreign monkeys to dance to draw attention to their school (whatever) the pickings are slim. 

Bella got a call the other day from one of her teachers from her school days. Her teacher was hitting the guilt, favour, respect train hard. “Bella,” he said, “you’re with the foreigner now, right? So, I need you to get him to come teach classes on Friday evenings at a small countryside school.” The intention was Bella would be embarrassed to say no, so he didn’t call to talk to me about it with her translating, he called to set up the whole thing so I would have no say in the matter. 

I have been made aware of this (my word) manipulation. I don’t care for it really. As I said before, we don’t make each other’s decisions. The old, “ask the girl to force the boy,” routine isn’t gonna fly here. It isn’t even gonna leap over tall buildings. 

She politely said, “I’ll have to ask him A. if he wants to, and B. how much he would want to charge.” Her former teacher’s response, “Why would you need to ask him? Just tell him he is doing it, and tell me how much you want him to charge (hoping for a price similar to hiring a local teacher rather than a foreigner).” Bella once again told him how I work, and she would have to call back. 

At first Bella was a little shy about answering for me like this, but it easier now because I have started her on the habit of making an obscene number of “he” statements. Her main concern was people would think she was talking. When it’s me, I have a bit more wiggle room to say nope. At least I take a little more wiggle room. 


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