Monday, March 15, 2010

Out of Hibernation

During my first couple of weeks here I noticed that something was missing. I kept my eyes peeled, but still no sight of them. They were elusive...kind of like the munchkins in The Wizard of Oz just after Dorothy steps out of the house in Oz.

They are hiding. You hear them giggle. What's that! Hmmm, must have been a rabbit or something.

But I actually did catch a glimpse of one!

A child! I mean a little child. I had already seen some elementary school kids, but I think since it was so cold the parents kept the little ones inside (unless they wore 10 layers of clothes like this poor little fella).

But three days ago the temperature got up to 20 degrees Celsius (that's about 68 degrees Fahrenheit...remember, I'm in China). So, I decided to take a break from academics, grab my camera, and walk around campus for a while.

And wouldn't you know it, the children finally came out!

Most were still dressed warmly--some still wearing 10 layers--but they were out!

My Chinese friends and I sometimes argue about whether Chinese children or American children are cuter.

You decide.

The mom of the one above said this is how her son learned to smile.

Like father like son. 

As I was taking pictures, a little kid came up to me and said something like, "Goo--Mwa--Nee." Each of those sounds is a Chinese word, but I didn't know what he was saying. So I smiled and nodded my head (like any good foreigner).

He said it again. He just stood there looking at me with sad puppy eyes. I hated to break his heart, but I had to tell him in Chinese I was sorry that I couldn't understand him.

He said it a third time. And he stood there.

Finally, his father came over and said to me in broken English, "Good morning." 

I felt so crushed. Here's this little kid trying to speak English to a foreigner probably for his first time, and the mean American tells him he can't understand him. 

Even though it was 5:00 p.m....and even though his pronunciation was bad...and even though I should not have expected a Chinese 2-year-old to speak English...

...I still felt like a jerk. I hope I didn't permanently traumatize him.

But that didn't stop others from trying to find me.


  1. These are so precious! Way to work the camera! ^_^

  2. Don't feel too bad. I can't understand small children who speak English in America. Sometimes I just stand there and say "That's nice" and give them an awkward smile while they continue to cry.

    Your pictures are really really great. Getting kids to take pictures is no easy task.

    Bryan wants to know if you have hugged a panda yet.

  3. Thanks for letting me know about my grandma's computer in the other post. I didn't know that.

    And yes, I've hugged 4. And we did summersalts (sp?) down a small hill.

  4. Hi Brent - love the pictures and your comments. Look like you are having a great time. When I was in Guatamala, the children were the only ones I could understand, because their vocabulary was right where mine was... Como se llama? Quantos anos?

    Take Care and Have Fun!