This was Nelly´s exact description of me in a picture wearing a purple scarf, pink framed sunglasses and a neon-pomegranade down-feather hat, striking a pose at a guilded corner knick-knack shop. Well, I guess not only my taste in food has turned a 180 degrees but I am also developing a certain kind of, locally induced but just as welcome, chromophilia. Gold and red together does no longer bother me and I started to appreciate fluorescent sneakers, bakelite laquer violet bags and plastic plastic.
But. When I could really feel like a celebrity, and give my ego some new polish, was yesterday after finishing off my sub classes of 120 students. Mind us, I sashayed through 4 groups, so within the 2 hours I calculate to have entertained almost 1000 happy feet. Sweet, 6 to 8 year old bambinos, none of them fat and all well-educated (contrary to what trendy topics about China are suggesting), sat through the 30 minutes in peace and quiet with momentary murmur around the edges only – I´ll get the TAs some heartshaped donuts next Monday.
In spite of the absence of books, exercise books, pen or piece of paper, the thousand eyes seemed to, as far as I could distinguish, behold attentively and repeated after me. Confusion broke out only when I asked a comradito to say an example and 5 kiddos stood up, pointing at their nose – me? me? me? (They don´t point at the chest like Westerners and for girls that´s considered even offensive.)
Luckily, I started off the class by spelling out my name first, let them giggle at my male name and giggle at all the males who are called liked the teacher. I quickly tried to spot the blushed ones and this gave me some point of target at questions time – Yes yes, the guy, you, behind Andy! No, the one exactly behind! Hoooh.
So, we all chanted the syllables and did lots of spelling and talked about who eats what for breakfast (soup and noodle – no longer surprised), we had eye contact (with much more of them than I´d originally intended. Sitting together so closely I bet I covered each of them) so felt like Justin Bieber signing off-mike with the audience. So we bonded. Hao a! At the end some of them came to the stage (!) and wanted to touch me – reached up to my arm or just the air in front of me so ok, come on, how else but now I truly felt like a star and I brushed their palms with my magic hands and smiled like an idiot.
I left, bouncing for a few metres that today I truly did something great and waved a brisk zai jian at the gatekeeper. It was still only 4 pm and I was about 10 minutes walking distance from the underground stop. Yay, I´m so going to have a work out this evening! Nah…decided to heroically pop (ok, no overstatement here, so I crawled) onto an electric (plasticsoloveit) rickshaw and asked for the subway in some voce patetica.
And I so would have leaned on uncle rider´s back in the old leather jacket but had to cover my nose with both hands as the exhaust pipe somehow blew all that …what is it that comes out? Anyhoo, the exhaust stuff onto my face.