Yesterday, just when I was rushing from Suzhou’s university (HSK afternoon class) to grab a taxi and head to one of the Korean families whose kid I teach, a Chinese woman ran up to me and tapped me on my shoulder. Now, I am one of those people that scares extremely easily (ask anyone who knows me and they’ll give you an exaggerated nod, followed by a ‘yes, really, SHE DOES! You have to walk on eggshells around her!’) so this unexpected tap resulted in me screaming out loud like a pig. Poor Chinese girl looked more than terrified when I calmed down and apologized to her (they always do….).
-Eh…I just wanted to know if we can interview you for our TV program?! The girl said.
-TV program? I looked around and instantly spotted two Chinese men, one carrying a giant camera, on their way over to me.
-Eh, I am kind of in a hurry?! I said. By then the Chinese men were by my side and pushed the camera in my face.
-Sorry, I don’t have time, I said, this time in Chinese.
-Oh, she speaks Chinese, PEEEEERFECT!! One of the Chinese guys said, and the camera guy got even closer to me (not going to help dude?!?!).
-But really, I am running late, I should go. I said.
-Oh no no no, insisted the guy. You just answer one question. Very short. Very simple! OK, let’s do it!
-Well, what is it about?
The guy waved to the camera guy who backed down a little bit, did some adjustments, and obviously had the camera focusing on me.
-We are doing a program about people’s opinions about lesbians and gays! So what do you think? What’s you opinion about homosexuals?
A microphone was passed forward to me and the boy and the girl looked something between agog and excited. Even the camera guy mastered a smile.
-Eh… I…. ehhh… What do I think?! Well I don’t have any special opinion about homosexuals? They can like whoever they like, boy, girl, whatever, it doesn’t matter. It’s up to each one of us.
The three face expressions changed from excited to disappointed.
-Where are you from?
-In Sweden, what’s the attitude towards homosexuals?
Three new eager expressions appeared on their faces.
-Eh… same as I just told you. No special attitude… everyone likes who they want to like….and no one really cares….
Huge disappointment mirrored in their eyes. Gosh, what did they want me to say!?!?? That we hunt homosexuals with sticks in Sweden (because we don’t….)? Well, yeah, I guess they WERE in fact fishing for something more interesting than my mellow answer.
-OK then.. the guy said with a sigh. That will be it. Thanks.
Once the camera was turned off it was my turn to take advantage of the moment.
-So what channel are you from?
-Suzhou’s local news.
-Ah cool. Do you have any laowais working there?
They all started laughing.
-NOOOOOOO!!!!!! No laowais!
-I am currently looking for a job… maybe I will apply at your TV station… do you think it would be possible for me to work there even though I am a laowai? I can speak Chinese and I have a journalism degree.
-YEEEEES! Said the two guys.
-NOOOOOOO! Said the girl.
Name cards were exchanged before we said our goodbyes and I jumped into a taxi. On my way to the Korean family I thought of 8764386487 good comments I could have said… why is it always so, that once you have the chance you always get so nervous and often say something quite lame, rather than seizing the opportunity and actually say something rather smart? (maybe that’s just a ‘Jonna thing?!’). Anyways. The rest of the day went on quite normal and it wasn’t until 10pm when my boyfriend received a rather hysterical phone call that I was reminded of my lame, TV performance.
-You girlfriend is on TV, you girlfriend is on TV!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
It was his company driver who was obviously watching the Suzhou local news. We had no chance to see it ourselves, and I am actually quite happy about that. Now I just wish, madly and deeply, that neither did any of my teachers!