Idiots Being Idiots

There were many reasons my wife shouldn’t have married me according to the people in her life. Her (Our?) friends told her marrying a foreigner was a terrible idea because foreigners are terrible spouses. Her family told her (before ever meeting me), “That foreigner is just marrying you for sex, and he will disappear one day.” That was probably one of the nicer things they said to her about me back then. The list includes (but not limited to):
“Foreigners steal girls, and sell them. He is just going to sell you.”
“Foreigners beat their wives, he will beat you.”
“Foreigners always have a second family back in their home country, and you will be his second wife.”
“[Other stuff about dastardly foreigners].”

The majority of people in her life were not pleased she married a foreigner, and they told her. We had some of her family at our wedding giving us gifts while saying, “I do not approve of this, you should not be marrying the foreigner.” XX once told me her family would have preferred she married a Han man, then another ethnicity from China (56 of them here), then a foreign born Han/other Chinese ethnicity, then from Asia, and at the bottom of the list is the other foreigners.

Her friends have since quieted down about us as a couple. I am not sure they have changed their tune, but they have shut up about it at least (win?).  At least her immediate family has gone from active dislike to a neutral, not-dislike over the past year and a half . Some days the neutral not-dislike might even cross the border into liking me. There are still some aunts/uncles/cousins who still actively hate the fact she married outside of China, they make sure she knows.

Even with the not-dislike we “enjoy” now with her family, there is the crap she has to put up with most everyday. Walking down the street with me she will hear people talking about her/us. The old people are the most vocal, but the younger people sometimes chime in too,
“Oh look at her. She is a terrible Chinese, marrying herself out like that.”
“She must be a prostitute, hanging off the foreigner like that,” *We would be holding hands, maybe an arm around the shoulder*
“I’ll bet she can’t have babies, so no respectable Chinese man would marry her, she had to settle for a foreigner.”
“She must be Japanese, because a good Chinese wouldn’t have married him.” *Once* *China doesn’t like Japan, this was meant as an insult*
Even when I am not there, people sometimes recognize her as the girl who married the foreigner.

I am not crying foul over this for myself. I may mutter to myself about it because it annoys me, but it doesn’t get me worked up because of me. Most of the time, I tell myself, “Idiots being idiots.” I do however feel awful for XX about it. The majority of people in her life (family/friends) were not (are not in some cases) pleased she married a foreigner, and they told her. On top of that, a steady stream of her townspeople feel the need to spew their intolerance at her too. She is surrounded by this garbage on a regular basis.

What makes me feel even worse about this is I don’t know when it is happening. I can’t shoot a dirty look, or tell them to take a hike. She doesn’t want to complain because she says, “Who cares what they say.” But, every once in a while she lets the truth out that she is tired of people being idiots. Some people say these things about/to her because they are bigots, and some of them because they are racist. XX sometimes says, “It isn’t their fault, they are just uneducated,” and some days the words have a stronger tone. We don’t seem to encounter these problems when we go to the bigger cities, even our big (but not that big) city. Just in the small towns. There is nothing I can really do for the problem. I can hold her, I can listen to her complain, I can love her, but I cannot do anything to fix the problem. I suppose you can’t fix stupid.

I don’t really know the point of this. I guess it is more of a vent than anything. I am well aware there are plenty of people here who don’t say this, and there are plenty of people here who don’t think this. However, plenty of people who don’t say it are little comfort when plenty of people are saying it.  It is a small town, and there are some minds set in their old fashioned ways.

I know there are people in the west who would say the same thing in reverse, and I also know I would call them idiots too. We have not experienced this in reverse yet though. I suppose the difference in the west would be I could (would) be able to say, “Go suck a lemon,” (or…) and walk away not oblivious about what just happened. It happening in one place does not in any way excuse it in the other, both sides of this one are idiots.

We have a contract here until Feb. 2019. We have decided this town isn’t big enough for us. At the end of this contract we are going to move on to greener pastures somewhere other than our little half horse town here. Thanks for listening to my vent.




Butter: My Little Yellow Friend

I don’t speak Mandarin. I can (incorrectly) say a few things, but I don’t speak it. I also can’t read it. I can recognize a few words (pictures to me) in Chinese, but I don’t know what words they mean, just what they mean. Oh, the box with two x’s [网] means there is probably internet here.

Once in a while, I do pick up something new. Today, it was the word for butter, because I was trying to search for butter to buy online. XX gave me the pinyin (romanized alphabet for the Chinese characters), “huang you.” Two words I know, “huang” means yellow, and “you” means friend.

Butter, you are my yellow friend. Yes you are. Sad to say, butter, you are probably my best friend. You will be there with me right to the end (and possibly be the cause of that end).

I was disappointed when XX explained it to me though. It is “huang you,” but the “you” here means oil (油 Yóu), not friend (友 You).

But I don’t care! Don’t worry butter, I will always think of butter as my little yellow friend, and no linguistic rules can tear us apart!


New Year’s Visit

The holidays have come, and are now going. This was my first year celebrating the Chinese New Year since coming to China, or ever for that matter. The first year I was here, I was travelling, and didn’t do anything … Continue reading

Dragon Claw Beats Tiger Roar!

We were learning animal body parts (loosely defined) in class recently. In elementary school here the kids learn the basic body parts that most animals, and people have, nose, eyes, ears, mouth, head, fingers, etc. They don’t really do much in the way of animal specific body parts though.

We learned:
Dragon Claw
Panda Paw
Tiger Roar
Elephant Trunk

We went over other animals with the same body parts, and yes I know a roar is not a body part, but I didn’t want to do an animal sound class, so I snuck it in there.

When it came time for the review, we played a game much like Rock-Paper-Scissors, but with our new terms.

  • Thumb, pointer, & middle fingers held like a claw = Dragon Claw
  • Hands open wide with all fingers, & thumbs fully extended = Panda Paw
  • Hands cupped around mouth like a pretend megaphone = Tiger Roar
  • What you think it would look like = Elephant Trunk

You play with three at any given time. Panda is always a good idea to have in there because pandas.

Dragon Claw beats Tiger Roar
Tiger Roar beats Panda Paw
Panda Paw beats Dragon Claw

At this point the kids will question how a panda can beat a dragon. The answer, “Pandas are so cute, the dragon can’t bear to attack them, but tigers can, cause tigers are jerks.” If you don’t have a TA/translator in class, just point at the panda, and say, “Mo mo da [moe-moe-da],” it means, “Cute,” and the kids will understand why this idea works.

I have the class split into 4 teams, and I have them come to the front of the room to battle. The winner stays (max 3 fights), and the loser sits to let the next team go. If someone wins 3 fights, then they get to fight me for extra points for their team.

Works with pretty much any group of animal features/body parts, just come up with reasons the weakest can beat the strongest. Cute is an easy out.

Working with Kids

Today one of the kids from class came running up to me, “Hi, hi, hi, hi! How are you?” When I was opening my mouth to answer, the kid popped a lychee out of her mouth, all half chewed up, and crammed it into my open mouth, “This is for you!” Then she gave a great big grin, and her grandmother shoved a bunch of peaches into my hands, and off they went.

Thanks… I guess?

Of Course I Know Kevin

I just posted about our decision to stick with the devil we know for our job in China. We don’t really like it a bunch, but there are things we like. The new place would also have things we liked, but new things to dislike too. When we were being toured around the city, the woman in charge of seducing us to come there mentioned a Kevin for a foreign teacher they previously employed. Bella said, “Oh, I know Kevin.”

The woman was certain it was a different person. After all, there are 600,000+ foreigners in China, and 1.3 billion people in China, what are the odds you would know a specific foreign teacher in this ocean of people, 15 hours away from home. The woman started to describe Kevin in order to show it was a different Kevin, “He this, he that, he the other thing.” We said, “Yup, yup, yup.” She continued, “His wife is Chinese,” we said, “yup.” Sure enough, it was the Kevin we were looking for, or at least knew.

She shot a message off to his wife with the picture of me from WeChat. She responded quickly, “Oh yes, we know him!” We made plans with them for the next day to go for some coffee.

It was nice catching up, and having a chat with someone familiar. I don’t know many people in China. We had already made our decision about sticking with our current job before we went out with Kevin, and his wife. When we were out with them, he told me about how he used to work for the company we were interviewing with in the city.

“I used to work with the school you are here to visit. They treat their teachers pretty well. The problem was when they got their new headmaster [the current one] he looked at how much money they were spending on the several foreign teachers at the school. So, he said they were doing away with the foreign English teachers because it isn’t worth the money. They didn’t even wait until the end of the semester, he just fired us all right then, and there.” was the story Kevin had to tell. This story was not meant to scare me away, just making conversation, and answering my question about what it was like to teach for this company.

His story did not make our decision, but it was one more piece of evidence we had made the right choice. If the headmaster killed the program once, there really was nothing stopping him from killing it again without giving us any notice.

What a small world it is though. A random city, chosen from a pile of job offers, and we happen upon one of the 4 people I know in this country.

Stupid Foreigner!

Earlier tonight I had a phone call from a number I didn’t know. Usually they are advertisements I don’t understand, but I decided to answer this one. This was a mistake. Buddy started his spiel, and at the first comma in his speech I interrupted, “I don’t speak Chinese, can I help you?” Apparently he has an issue with English, because he lost his mind at me when I spoke to him in English. He shouted into the phone, “Stupid foreigner, you are worthless to me!” Then he hung up on me.

I may be living in China, but you called my phone. Just another day in the life, just another day. 😐

Stop Spitting on the Floor!

I repeatedly have to tell this kids in my classes, “No spitting on the floor!” Today I heard one kid working a big snot ball out, “Snort,hock, hock, hock, hock.” I looked at him, and he knew I was going to growl if he spit it on the floor, but I was already all prepared in his mouth to spit. So he did what any of us would do, he pulled open the neck of his shirt, and spit it inside his shirt. He then patted his shirt against himself, and smiled at me to say, “See, I am well behaved.”