A few nights ago at dinner with the family, I got to tell how much fun it was to have friends from all over the world. Specifically, when I first moved to Taiwan after college I shared an apartment with two Chinese sisters and Richard from Surrey, UK.
Richard and I became friends and I enjoyed imitating his accent, as well as asking him everything I ever wanted to know about fish and chips, soccer hooliganism, the queen, Christmas pudding. He shared the satirical magazine Private Eye with me.
The kids were shocked I was so culturally inappropriate, being so obvious with my crass stereotypes and misconceptions.
I told them that once a level of trust has been established, curiosity and interest (as well as mockery) where a person comes from can be appreciated. They didn't buy it. True, I might have been overbearing more than a few times. Still, Richard was my friend and I recall many good times together.
|Stephano from Italy, who called me Gigi because it sounded similar to saying "reporter" in Mandarin.|
|Mr. Kumada from Japan who read Vonnegut and wanted to know about the civil war. Yes, he is wearing my cowboy hat.|
My sense of humor didn't translate all that easily into Chinese, so when I think of international high jinx, I am reminded of these characters above.
|A culture fair at a local university.|