Sunday, May 4, 2008

Watching Ironman

I know, pretty boring since going to see Ironman is probably the thing to do in the States right now. Does it help that I don't know when it came out and that when we bought our tickets, I didn't know how to say which movie I wanted to see? The title is three characters long, and I only knew the last one...

Maybe I should post another picture of my shorts (I'm wearing the black pair today and people tell me they like it better than the khaki one). That seemed to elicit all kinds of comments. I'm so happy you commented, Mich! And TC, Grandad told me you were going to Dickenson; I hope you love college. I haven't met anyone named Tony, though, but if I do, I'm sure I'll remember him for his normal name. I just saw a picture of a Chinese girl named "Win" with her brother "Earth." Mom, I'm glad you didn't try for slang in public. Katie, I think the lol undid some of the compliment... :)

As I said, I went to see Ironman tonight. I happened to be in the happening apartment when Sol, Sofia, and Jess were planning, and since I didn't have anything else to do tonight, I went along too. The movie, if you haven't seen it, was pretty sweet. We managed to go to a showing that was in English with Chinese subtitles, so we understood all of it. (This was in contrast to me watching the movie about Jane Austen a few months ago, which was boring and in Chinese, with no subtitles.) I think I'm starved for real English here, so listening to a whole movie of witty dialogue was fantastic.

When the movie was over, the credits started to roll, the Ironman theme song came on, and we went to get out of our seats—and I remembered I was in China. For a flittering moment, I thought I was in America, but then I was back halfway around the world, faster than Ironman can fly.

It was the first time I actually forgot I was in China. It made me a little sad to be here. In general I'm pretty happy (especially with my trip to Xinjiang coming up next week). I was really craving pretzels today, and all I could find were saltine knockoffs, but that's how things go. My brain's never been fooled.

Well, that's all the sentiments I can stand to write now. Actually, it brings me to the topic I was planning on writing about before I began writing: I hung out with a different Chinese family yesterday.

This family lives in our apartment complex. The dad takes a walk every evening, so he sometimes sees me stealing Internet access and wants to talk. He lived in America for a while, but always says that it was a while ago, so his English is rusty. He continually suggested that we work out a tutoring situation for his daughter, and since my education has taken a break while China celebrated the first of May, I eventually acquiesced.

I came to his house to see two kids, which wasn't surprising since they often have a friend. We taught each other for a while, then they invited me to lunch. The one who I knew was a daughter kept calling the other one Little Sister, but again, that's not that unusual because after the One Child Policy, everybody wants to still feel like they have siblings.

And then I said in English to the one girl that the other one wasn't really her sister, was she? The girl said no. That was pretty convincing proof, so I turn to the younger one and ask her where she lived. She said she didn't understand. I soon found out that she actually was the younger sister (which, in retrospect, explained why I thought they had the same last name), that the mom just loved children enough that they sucked it up and paid the fine to have a second one. And I was the jerk who said it couldn't be. They laughed it off, and I was glad that we had just talked about taboo topics in our respective cultures. Americans don't talk about money or politics, Chinese talk about everything. Everything? I asked. Everything but feelings, they said.


Sheri said...

When we lived in China way back in the day, I used to bring in women's magazines and my favorite candy and save them in a stash under my bed. And then on one of "those days", I'd lay on my bed and read my American magazine and eat my American candy and totally forget that I was in China. The escape was so glorious! (Can't let this chance slip by but to also mention the the time that I picked up a good "candy" locally for my escape time. It was so yummy I ate 2/3 of the bag...only to find out in about six hours that the "candy" in a bag with a name I couldn't read was fancy prunes!)
Living in a foreign country is fun and adventurous; but sometimes, dang, it can just be so FOREIGN.

katiepenguins said...

Oh, actual siblings! That's cool. It's weird to hear the kids call each other their "brothers" and "sisters"...and realize that very few of them actually do.