Monday, February 25, 2008

Why does this always happen to me?!

There I was, innocently studying characters at a Starbucks café when a mid-aged Chinese man approached me and asked if I was an English teacher.
‘No!’ I said and pointed on my endless notes of characters.
‘Oh, because I want to learn English!’
And then, with both of us not being very good at communicating at the other ones language (his English was as poor as my Chinese… actually, I should give myself some credit, maybe it was even poorer than mine) we ended up in some sort of linguistic haze where he expressed his wish to become my 朋友‘peng you’= friend.

Yes, my friend.

But friends don’t call you 15 min after you’ve said goodbye and ask if they can take you out for dinner.

Yes, I am very naïve and stupid who gave him my number but my phone was sort of at the table and he wanted me to put his number in, and call him, so that he could get mine. And yes, of course I could have said no, or even better, I could have refused, but once again… It’s not that nice to make a Chinese man ‘lose face’ at a public place, so I thought I’d let him down gently. When he suggested dinner (during our phone call) I replied ‘how about lunch at Starbucks’. I’m thinking that if Starbucks could get me into this sticky situation, then Starbucks better take me out of it too!!

Now, if he really, truly wants us to be ‘friends’ and friends only, I will have to take all this back. But if he thinks ‘friends’ or ‘study buddies’ means wining and dining, and not focussing on language exchange, I guess I’ll have to do some painful explaining to him. Oh lord. Why does this always happens to me?

But anyways, I am meeting him tomo already... To be continued!!

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