There is something wonderful about new beginnings. It’s the thrill of heading into uncharted territories and never knowing what you’re getting to get out. This is how the first day of school feels like to me.
Today was my first day, and it went really well. I should right away erase any rumours of my classes being completely in Chinese, they are taught in English as well. I have a “large” class of 10 students which is tiny compared to what I’m used to. I went a bit early so I wouldn’t be jammed in the elevator and instead had to fight for a spot on the couch outside of the room; darn over achievers. Once the prior class headed out we slowly trickled in. Truly it was more of a step-stop, step-stop, and step-stop approach. I think the reason is because we had to calculate where we were going to sit. Seating placement is very important you see. We have this annoying habit of sitting in the exact same place every time. If you don’t sit by the cutest boy right away then you are doomed until partner projects appear.
Our classroom has two round desks pushed together that makes a figure eight if you were to draw its outline. I chose a spot far right of the room that faced the teacher but wasn’t directly in her view. Nonetheless I was called on first to say my name and education experience. To my left was a boy from Vietnam who spoke Mandarin but didn’t know how to read or write. On the other side was a pretty girl from India who has lived in Taipei for 8 months. Turns out she is married, more educated and older than me so out of respect she is a woman but looks much younger. Many of my classmates are from Japan and one is ethnically Chinese but grew up in Russia. We did our little introductions then headed straight into review of Pinyin and Bo, Po, Mo, Fo etc.
We were given a 15 minute break then spent the last hour talking in Chinese to the person beside us. Once English was forbidden the classroom suddenly got very animated. It was fun using all the words we knew up to that point and knowing the other speaker was at the same level as us. After class I went to get a bite to eat with my classmate. One of the things we talked about was arranged marriages. That was how she met her husband and married him soon after. It was a very enlightening conversation and we joked about the troubles of dating. I must say I have thought about it once or twice, imagine having someone chosen for you? No first date jitters, or analyzing text messages…
It can seem idyllic but I don’t think I would take to it so well. My Dad had an idea for a grad date and I didn’t even give it a second thought. The most annoying part was he never told me who it might have been! I had a goodtime though and my date, who I chose was really fun. I can see though how a balance should be played out. Many girls cling to guys who are terrible to them just because they’re parents don’t want them to. They think there love is deeper just because they alienate more and more people around them. Having a choice is nice but I’m glad I don’t have to decide completely on my own.
That is what sisters are for =)