Will you miss Shanghai if you don’t see the Shanghai acrobats? No, but it was still fun. It made me wonder how these people get into their career like balancing glass chandeliers on their feet, juggling hats, or rolling around inside a 5-foot hula hoop. Plus, the way some of the performers can twist their bodies is slightly disturbing, and I wonder if it’s healthy.
On the other hand, a less disturbing and a probably healthier activity is singing karaoke to High School Musical and Taylor Swift songs. I met some people who live in the same dorm building as me, and they invited their friends, and together we went to sing karaoke! I was a bit nervous because I don’t like having attention focused on me. I was basically imagining it to be like when Troy and Gabriella sang together for the first time in High School Musical, with a big stage, everyone watching you, and nothing to hide the fact that I am a terrible singer. In reality, the room was dark, you could sit around tables comfortably singing instead of in front of everyone, and Troy and Gabriella could drown out my voice when I wasn’t feeling confident about my voice. However, after singing a couple songs, I got more confident, so I hope the rest of the group didn’t go home with their ears bleeding that night from my singing!
It’s normal for Chinese people to go out to sing karaoke when they want to get together with friends. They also like hanging out together and playing pool. I went to a pool hall for the first time, and it kind of cracked me up because the pool hall was the most social scene I have seen on campus so far! It was fun though because Chinese pop music was playing, and I found it amusing how serious some of them were. Some people even had fancy gloves, which I guess helps aim the ball better or at least made them look more intimidating.
I also went to the club fair last week, which was cool because a lot of the clubs were so Chinese. For example, they had a bowling club, a tea club, a knot tying club, a badminton club, a sword club, a tai chi club, an anime club, a calligraphy club, a ping pong club, a martial arts club, and a trading cards club, among many other more general clubs. People shoved papers in my hand every way I turned advertising their clubs, and naturally they started explaining their club in Chinese. However, I had to embarrassingly cut in and explain I didn’t understand what they were saying. Then, I would ask them in English, “can you explain your club to me?” They would blink at me, confused that I had used English, and then immediately try to explain the best they could in English.
However, I was so embarrassed that I had to ask people to explain their club to me in English, and the lack of practicing Chinese I have had since moving to campus because it is so much easier to speak English, that I saw an advertisement for someone who was willing to teach Chinese, and I responded to it. I met the woman, and she started talking about her past students. She told me not only do they call her a “devil with a smile,” but she said I will punish you if you forget one of the vocabulary words; I will punish you if you don’t do your homework; I will punish you if we play a game and you lose. All this time, I was kind of freaking out in my head and thinking it can’t be that bad, she’s not going to hit me right? Or make me stand on an abacus? Then she explained that the punishments are more like dancing or singing in front of a random group of strangers, or running. Honestly, that is almost scarier than getting an F on an assignment to me though. On the other hand, this might be exactly what I need to improve my Chinese. I have been studying Chinese for a long time, but I really want to learn words and phrases that I can use in daily conversations, which is not something I can get in textbooks. Therefore, I’m going to sell myself to the devil, and hopefully I won’t die from embarrassment of singing to a random group of strangers. I guess it can’t get more embarrassing than having to stop someone from speaking because I can’t understand, right? Wish me luck!
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<p>Hi all! My name is Lucy Swett, and I am a sophomore at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, PA. I am majoring in Computer Science and minoring in Chinese. I was adopted from Hubei China, when I was one year old, raised in the United States, and now I am excited to go back for the first time! I hope you join me in my adventure!</p>