sorry for the lack of updates, i’ve been waking up later and later (yesterday at 720, this morning 730) and getting to work later and later (from arriving around 810/830, to arriving at 845, and for the past two days 905/915…. oops.) 2 months goes by so quickly, especially now that life has picked up a little after meeting more people around town. i’m kinda sad knowing i’ll be leaving everyone in 2 weeks, and i wasn’t able to stay a few days more, sans-work, since changing my ticket would cost almost half of the fare price. but i believe everything happens for a reason, and we’re put in “the right places at the right times” for God’s higher purpose, so it’s just a matter of enjoying my time here and hopefully impacting the people around me in some way or fashion.
but on to the post.
i’ve had several conversations with my aunt about language. language barriers due to the actual languages, different generations and cultures, different interpretations, misunderstandings. language skills at the office. how my cantonese has improved. how i don’t actually speak like a little girl, but just..singaporean. i mentioned that i can’t tell the difference between singaporean cantonese and hong kong cantonese are different, i can only tell if someone’s first language is either mandarin or cantonese, and they’re speaking the other.
today, i realized i don’t even understand chinese-accented english. so much for being a stale fob and immersing myself in asia all my summers…
[while briefing me on my new task]
supervisor 1: hm, have you seen the hkicpa’s teleco reports? they might be useful
me: oh…. no… haha i don’t even know what teleco is
[supervisor begins clicking around on the website to show me]
[i follow along, and see that she ends up on “technical reports”]
i hope she didn’t catch that bit about me now knowing what teleco is….. or if she heard it, i hope she didn’t think i was making fun of her english….
background: i sent my other supervisor an email about 15min before our lunch break, regarding my task
[5min before lunch] (though to be honest, my supervisors generally leave around 1235 for 1245-2pm lunch haha)
[supervisor 2 walks by my work area/open cubicle. i assume she’s leaving for lunch, so i look up and smile]
[she pauses and shifts over]: oh wing, i received your email, but will reply to it later, i am going to bathroom first (waves her arm in the general direction)
me: oh..ok yeah that’s fine! *waves*
then i proceed to wait for a few minutes, a little confused bc i’m not sure if i should stay until she gets back, or leave bc it’s lunch time… i mean, what if she was taking a nap in the bathroom?? (refer to previous posts)
after a few more minutes, i figured i should just go get food. it’s lunch! she wouldn’t blame me for not waiting the whole hour, right? and if she wasn’t back by then, well, that was just a long bathroom break.
as i left the office, i kept thinking about the situation, and all of a sudden the wires finally fell into place and the light flared.
what i had heard and understood as “i am going to bathroom first” was actually “i am going to buy food first”
add these to my noodle shop incident a few weeks back, and i’m just having great fun with language in hong kong haha
noodle shop incident – synonyms: embarrassing, illiterate. antonym: successfully faking it.
for those of you who haven’t been to hk or don’t remember much of it, there are a bunch of individual stall shops and restaurants. places where people go to experience “real hong kong” i guess. chinese food, etc. it’s cheap and good. what’s not to like? asian’s dream, right? but the downside? everything is chinese. food, menu, and people alike.
several weeks ago, i walked into one such noodle shop for lunch, bc i had to help my grandparents with some event or another after church, and the place was on the way. for these shops, most people just choose their own noodle items (whether it be meat or veggies or fish or whatever). so what if i couldn’t read all the words? i know “beef” and “fish” and “vegetable”. and all i had to do was circle what i wanted in my noodles. simple enough, i could just fake my way through it and circle randomly if worst comes to worst.
i tried to read to the best of my abilities, circled 3 items on the ordering sheet, and passed it along to the lady working there. “i’m ready!”
she looks at the paper, studies it for a few seconds, and then turns to me, sarcastically “what, you’re not eating noodles?”
the smart faker that i am, i can’t read the word “noodles” (or “soup” for that matter), and had chosen 3 toppings/items to go along with my non existent noodle and soup base choices. she shoved the paper back to me and asked me to choose something, but because i didn’t know how to read i just stared at her (i didn’t know where the noodle description was!). as hkers are all impatient, she then spoke to me in mandarin, jabbing at each noodle choice as she read a few items aloud. and then she chose my soup base for me too haha.
yeah, it was kinda embarrassing, but guess what? i don’t know people in hk, so it’s all good. there’s something to be said about the privacy you feel amongst a group of complete strangers.