In the classroom, I’ve picked up a few Chinese phrases that the children say quite a lot. One of these is shénme [shuh muh]. This is Chinese for ‘what’. One student in particular, if he doesn’t understand something I say, he says shénme to me. Another phrase I hear quite a lot is gĕi wŏ [gay woh] which means ‘give me’. This is usually said when one student has something the other student wants.
Also, I keep hearing is xià kè [sha kuh]. This means ‘class is over’, even though there could be another 45 minutes left. I have to disappointingly say ‘no… not yet!’
Another interesting thing I have noticed is, for example, is if they are colouring something and I ask what colour do they want. So many students LOVE the colour yellow! Half the time they pick this one… and I don’t like when they are using yellow, because when they start, they realise the colour is too bright and they can’t see the colour on the paper, meaning they end up taking another 2 minutes picking ANOTHER one out, usually a dark brown.
It’s also amazing to see how the 3-6 year olds love hugging you and being held. It’s quite a nice feeling, to know that you actually mean something to them (however small that may be). Two girls I teach live a few floors up from the campus, so sometimes when they are passing, they come and say ‘HI AISLING!’ and off they go again. One student offered me a biscuit and the other gave me a green, thin (almost like paper) thing, which smelled remarkably like fish.
And the parents have even passed the ‘utmost importance’ of drinking warm water down to their children. One student, she’s 6, brings in her flask with her warm water to class. There are flasks specifically designed for children, which Mickey Mouse and other cartoon cartoons on them. Sometimes during a 1 and a half hour class, I would ask them do they want some water. Sure enough they add cold AND hot water from the water dispenser. First of all, at home, we rarely have water dispensers. Anyway, if we did, I’m pretty sure not many people would drink the hot water.
They are obsessed with hot water. Chinese people think, if you are sick…. “you should drink hot water”. If you have a cold….”you should drink hot water”. If you have a headache…”oh… you should drink hot water”.
And during the winter I have heard, numerous times…”you should wear more clothes.” Now I’m not here wearing shorts and a t-shirt. I’m wearing proper clothes, like with a coat and scarf. But still I’m cold. Once I say “It’s cold today!”….. the reply is, “you should wear more clothes”. You just can’t win!
Also, I have noticed how many Chinese people cannot recognise Western sarcasm. One of the teachers was talking to a Chinese staff and she mentioned something about having to do something that will be boring and non-interesting. The teacher replied “oh that will be exciting”. I heard them talking and I knew straight away, by the tone of his voice, that he meant that in a sarcastic way and that he knows it will be boring. However the Chinese didn’t get it, and she said “oh no it won’t be exciting!”
We also have our teambuilding workshop, ie; going for hot pot together. I love hot pot, so we are going there after our classes have ended.
Oh and its getting hotter. In the mid 20’s now. I can just about bare this heat, imagine what I’ll be like when it hits the 30’s!