Not so shy
Yesterday I was talking to two students from America, one guy and one girl, who enlightened something quite new to me: young Chinese people doing their outermost to practice English. The girl told me that during a recent shopping trip to the local supermarket, two young Chinese guys had come up to her and asked if they could practice speaking English to her while she was shopping. While my mouth dropped she was like: 'yeah, happens all the time'.
Does it?! Where? When? Why hasn't it happened to me? I am often shopping alone although no one has come up to me, not even once, during my 2 years in China. Maybe I don't look friendly enough. (Note to self: smile more when out in public). Maybe my height is intimidating? Hm... strange. According to these 2 American students it apparently happens everywhere to everyone?
The guy told me about him and his friends, being out and about in Beijing. One of the guys managed to hit his head quite badly and they had to go to the hospital to sew him up. While they were sitting in the waiting lounge waiting for their friend who was being looked after by the doctors, a young Chinese guy that had seen them coming in came up to them.
-I saw your friend isn't doing so well... he hurt his head badly. Is he going to be OK? He said.
-Yeah... we hope so! The guys said.
-So... while you are waiting for him... can I practice English with you?
Wow... there's a time and a place for everything, huh?!
All of these stories are completely new to me. But quite funny, hence why I wanted to share them.
I have to say that I am impressed by these young Chinese people's guts. I am a complete wimp when it comes to practicing my Chinese with strangers. I never start talking to someone in a shop (in Chinese) unless they talk to me first. I'm always so worried I am going to bother someone... Scandinavian upbringing I suppose ("don't intrude on your friend's personal sphere and DEFINITELY don't intrude on strangers personal sphere") Sometimes I wish I was more aggressive when it comes to these things though. The only 'strangers' I feel I can talk to as much as I want are taxi drivers. I feel that since we are both in the same car I might as well break the ice and ramble away... normally they are quite happy to chat, although the conversations are pretty much always the same.