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Life Lessons While Traveling

My family and I went to Taipei, Taiwan when I was a senior in high school. My brother had been there for an adventure and to teach English to school children. I guess I had always thought of the Chinese people as being very serious. I think I thought that the only people in the world with a sense of humor were Americans. I guess I just couldn't imagine what they would laugh about, it's like nuns. You see a bunch of nuns giggling and you wonder what they are laughing about; surely not the same things I laugh about.

Anyway, we got to sit in on one of my brother's classes where he was to pronounce phrases properly so that the children might mimic his accent. "Would you like to go to the park?" he said. The children mimicked him as though they were repeating the Pledge of Allegiance. "Let's go!"

The children began to mimic, "Let se go, lai tze goa, lai tze goa!" Incredulous laughter filled the room as the children kept repeating, "Lai tze goa! Heh heh heh." The Chinese "teacher's assistant" brought the class back to order.

Later, I asked my brother what was so funny about, "Let's go." He explained to me that it sounds like how one might say "Drag a dead dog" in Mandarin Chinese. Instantly, I equated the school childrens' experience with my own of going to a Chinese restaurant and seeing egg foo yuk on the menu. "If it's yukky, why's it on the menu, then?"




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