This afternoon’s commute pleasantly turned out to be culture exchange thinly disguised as a taxi-share. As temperatures increase in Beijing, so does the difficulty of finding a taxi. Kou Xiansheng (Mr. Kou) was happy to drop me at work on his way to the train station. Our chat eventually moved on to the topic of his first and only trip to Canada, at which point he couldn’t stress enough his surprise that in Vancouver cars always stopped for pedestrians. Yes, Kou Xiansheng - we keep it classy in the Couv. It’s been no surprise to be that the Chinese are pretty bullish Vancouver - even the ones who haven’t seen it with their own eyes , bought a multi-million dollar house on the West Side, nor even felt the gentle kindness of a Vancouver driver slowly bring their Toyota Prius to a halt, smiling serenely having just come from a Vinyasa-Flow class and reaching for their tumbler to take a small sip of organic, fair-trade Salt Spring coffee.
On another hilarious note, one of the laoshis at my school was invited to attend the stagette of a former student (also Canadian). As the apparent expert-in-resident on gifts appropriate for this type of occasion, I was asked for my suggestions on what would be appropriate. The look of slight shock and horror on laoshi’s face when I jokingly replied that 内衣 (undergarments) were a typical stagette gift was, needless to say, priceless. I revised my final answer and assured her that a gift relating to Chinese language or culture would be fine, given that the basis of their relationship is, well, based on Chinese language and culture. Interesting how we discover the more obtuse aspects of Western (read: North American) traditions.
Oh and yes, you heard me mention work. Work you say? As of late I’ve been giving a cool little company named Catalai a hand with their marketing. They run an internship, language and culture programme for young folks that want to go about doing this “China thing”. Take a peek and throw us a thumbs up if you like what you see - http://www.facebook.com/CatalaiChinaProgramme.