Tuesday, October 18, 2011
Sculpture Garden Saturday
This past Saturday, I went with a group of Chinese people to the Sculpture gardens here in the Twin Cities. I love the sculpture gardens; I love the outdoors in the Fall; I love hanging out with Chinese people. And even so, after a busy week, I was dragging my feet to do it and regretting that I had signed up for it. However, during the course of the day, it became more clear to me that I was in the right place. Neither the husband nor wife that rode in my car spoke English except for "beautiful" and "Let's go" and "DC" which didn't take us far for interesting conversations in English. This couple is just in the US for about a month visiting their son who studies here. They had already traveled to New York, Las Vegas, and some other place in MN.Despite all the places they had already seen, they were really excited to meet "a true American" (their words) who could also speak some Chinese. At one time, the man corrected my pronunciation, "Hang out with more Chinese people and you're Chinese will be perfect in no time" he advised me.
I loved to hear their perception of America too. "Americans have a problem with being overweight" the man told me. "Pay attention so it doesn't happen to you."
"I will" I said sincerely and then I reassured him that I eat fruit and walk a lot. "Especially eat less in the evening" he continued to advise me not convinced of my small attempts at slenderness.
He also wondered why Americans drink cold water while they're eating a meal. I can actually understand his concern as there has been some studies that show drinking water while eating can actually dilute the enzymes that digest food.
But perhaps one of the funniest situations to explain were the big wedding parties of people that were walking around the sculpture gardens taking photos. "They're taking photos right before their wedding" I explained. The man laughed at me and corrected me: "They're not having a wedding now; they're just taking photos for a wedding that will happen in a month or two." And then I remembered how in China, that's usually how it is done. The bride and groom have a wedding photo shoot literally a month or two before their wedding so they can have the wedding photo album sitting at the entrance of the reception. I did my best to explain that in America, most people will take their wedding photos (including all 10 of the wedding party) right before or after their wedding; I'm still not sure they believed me.