Friday, December 5, 2008

once upon a time...

...i lived in columbia with a few volleyball players. one of those volleyball players (shen danru) was from china, so when the coaches recruited another chinese volleyball player to come to MU they recruited us to give her a place to stay and teacher her english (she didn't speak a lick of it). the plan was for her to come over to america sometime in the summer so she could get her feet wet with the language before school started up, so i eagerly awaited her arrival and expected that our house would experience more burn-your-eyeballs-with-hot-peppers dinners and discussions about snakes as a delicacy (more on that later). i was in and out of town that summer, and my other two roommates had gone home for a while, so it was just shen and i waiting for her arrival.

one day about this time i came home to a very disturbing sight: a tan, naked 6'3" man in our kitchen with his back to me. (thoughts in my head at the time: shen does not have a boyfriend...this is my apartment, right? none of my friends are gutsy enough to pull this sort of prank...i have never seen anyone that large naked before...maybe i can sneak out without him knowing i was here...who the heck is this dude? naked in the kitchen of all the awkward places!)

now, i tried not to stare very much (but i am pretty sure i just stood there gawking with my mouth open and on the verge of tears for about 5.7 minutes, shaking my head and wondering if any words would come out of my mouth), but i was pretty sure this big dark dude was cleaning the kitchen or something. about 7 seconds into my gawknig this tall dude turned around...

and i figured out who she was. yes, she. it was the new chinese roommate. (but she wasn't your ordinary, petitue chinese girl. she really was about 6'3," with very short hair and broad shoulders.) still, it was rather an awkward to meet her for the first time like this. anyway, when she turned around she just started saying, "oh, sorry, sorry," (pronounced: "sooo-ray, soooray"), and i, still stunned, just looked down, pointed to my room, and started mumbling excuses to leave the room (which i'm sure she didn't understand).

shen was in her bedroom, so i went to her and told her about the naked new girl in the kitchen. shen just looked up at me and said, "really? (pronounced: rea-llay?) what was she doing naked?" (i was kind of thinking it was a cultural thing, but i guess not.) "i don't know, shen, but it looked like she was cleaning the kitchen." shen: "oh sheesh. i will have to tell her no more. it's like i am her mother or something." yes, please do.

since the time of our first meeting, the new girl learned english very well, and i have had several conversations with her, but i still can't work up the nerve to ask about the day i met her in her birthday suit (let alone WHY she was in her birthday suit in the kitchen). some things are better left unsaid.

(this was inspired by rider's blog about extraordianry happenings. if you haven't read it yet, get to it.)

1 comment:

  1. Um.... I remember you telling this story back in the day in the house on Bethel! :) It is STILL funnier than ever. I love reading your thoughts and reflections on teaching. I completely relate and can think of a student that shares similarities with each of your story students.