...and a bit more, please.
08.05.2012 19 °C
The first two entries of this blog amuse me. They are like rolled turkey on crackers, pretending to be caviar hors d'oeuvres. Let me tell you something about me. Since I was a fourteen-year old school reject, I've been fascinated with the French language. Not even necessarily the French culture, not because it isn't fascinating, just because I didn't know or care to learn anything about it. All I cared about was the alluring lull of the language. I grasped it well, and studied it until college. As I learned more, I realized I needed to go to France... no, I wanted to go to France. But I didn't. I worked and went to school and talked about how much I wanted that trip. Fourteen years old when I started, fourteen years of French studies later, inconsistent ones, but fourteen years, I'm embarking on my first trip out, into the world, my first excursion beyond the three or four Americas, and I'm finally going to.... China.
Life's this way. Step right up. It's funny how we may heat the skillet, take out the butter, grease the hot cast iron and instead of pouring pancake batter, we end up flicking a blender switch and make smoothies. Sometimes we even let the butter burn a little, because in the process of making up our minds we forget to turn the range off. But that's how some parts of life work.
Instead of going to a country I may not know well, but in which I may be able to tell, quite clearly actually, if I'm being asked wether I want the ham soup or some liquid detergent, I'm going to a country where discerning between meal choices is the same as understanding wether I'm being asked, told, demanded, or being brushed off for being laowai. Not that it bothers me in the least. I'm so excited about going to China, I could run around the block naked with a mad grin on my face. Nor am I scared; I will navigate my surroundings with amusement and grace (I presume.) But those fourteen years of French in my head will serve me only for one thing: French tourists in South China. This weighs so heavily in my mind, I've actually fantasized about running into a francophone tour group and subversively tagging along, perhaps making casual banter with a white-shorts-and-caqui-sock wearing Pierre. In the four months I've had the ticket to China, I've learned such a small amount of Mandarin words and tones, I'll be surprised if I don't get slapped the first time I'll ask a waitress for tofu and the "ma?" at the end of my request sounds more like an insult than a question.
But that's how I chose to do it. Perhaps that's how my whole life has been. It explains things like finally starting to love math in college but declaring a Music major, or getting a car driver's license but always wanting a motorcycle. The fact is, we all make something out of nothing, and we all make it differently. There are as many flavors of traveller are there are rice dishes in the whole world, if not more. Some pack to a list, others throw what they find in the backpack and go. Some plan up to the toilet stops, others stick out their thumbs and ride the chancy winds. Some wait until the end of their lives to go anywhere at all, other's get a job as soon as it is legal and spend their first hard saved earnings going where they please. Some prepare for French and en up getting Chinese.