For those of you who are just checking in. My adventure of the past week has been... exhausting for starters. Aside from that - I been preparing for and recently just recorded a segment discussing movies for Henan TV. Evidently, its viewable by roughly half of China.
I am astonished with how fast I spoke... and the fact that I could roll with as much language contact as I did... and on camera for the first time.
Ok ill be honest - I’m not afraid of a camera or people... but it does add a certain kind of crunch factor.
However, the way I see it - I just bought myself braggin’ rights for most ballzy act for a while
If you can cap - “I went on TV and discussed movie content in my second language after a year and a couple months of studying - lemme know.” and don’t give me any of that “I’ve given birth to five children shookum.” The only person who can pull that card is my aunt... and thats cause she got the baker’s dozen of children. Definite win there.
Honestly, I haven’t worked that hard to prepare for anything in about 6-7 months.
I translated documents, I watched the content movies, I met, had coffee and discussed content and I wrote out my general responses to the questions I anticipated, which came out to being 1,417 words long... in Chinese... I didn’t know I could do that... probably because I’d just never done it, but thats aside from the point!
I got up - did some reading, did some considerate studying of the content and compiled my answers.
I ate La Mian (拉面)
I got dressed - in the outfit i’d planned the day before: no blue and limited black.
Instead of riding my bike as tradition dictates, I didn’t want to risk getting hit by a car, and or being late... even though I left like 45 minutes early for something that takes about 10-15 minutes of travel... taxi I found and taxi I rode. My friends were also super 认真 “diligent and attentive to responsibility” and actually beat me there... and we were all like a half hour early.
We waited around for a little bit and admired my shiny boots and delicious tie
One of the TV station workers I had dinner with originally came and got us, walked us down the street, and as soon as I was beginning to think that we might be going to “Pirate TV Central” to advertise rocket launchers and other terrorism supplies, I saw a building with the official Henan TV logo and what not and was a bit more at ease.
We went up to their office, I met some folks, got interviewed for the newspaper (turning into a regular old package deal eh?)
I showed my prep materials to the host, and he was jazzed about the content (frankly I was impressed with me for doing it and actually being able to write that much... should have had it peer-edited....ok no peers...Chinese who can communicate with me via various media potentially including flannel graph and or interpretive dance.)
My host friend had his hair done up all Chinesy like and some sort of “foundation” to make him whiter. Evidently they are under the impression that his dark skin next to my white on Camera would be somewhat unsettling. Sure, fine, y’all’s show.
We talked for a while and prepared for the show doing a few run-throughs and I answered some questions from the reporter friend of theirs who came to do a story on me. (WOO! Oriental Daily, page 17 ^_^ )
The time finally came and we headed up to the top floor where the filming set was. It was just like a theater set... dirty everywhere aside from the filming section and “green screen” backdrop (it was blue....)
There were some awkward barstools and a table like something out of a 20’s soda fountain diner.
We ran through several takes, and they gave me pointers here and there. I think the biggest preoccupation was... what do I do with my hands when I’m sitting down... and where the bump do I look? There were two cameras, but I didn’t want to give them the death-stare or anything along those lines.
Eventually it came to an end with survivable levels of embarassment and irrevocable actions that may or may not give me a heart attack someday. (do I have a nervous twitch?)
We got back to the office, I got my lovely vase. Its a Henan specialty (glaze technique...) that dates back a LONG time. Much longer than that crazy white and blue stuff that everyone is obsessed with/ Daryn hates.
The boss extended his appreciation for my work and expressed his desire that I come back to do the show on a regular basis. I also got a sheet of prepaid movie tickets. Pretty jazzy i’d say. Aside from one thing.
Evidently it was the plan all along that it be a regular thing, and my host/filming friends hadn’t really gotten a chance to breach the subject quite yet. Needless to say, this yielded a fairly awkward situation. I bought some time with vague answers etc, and my host friend and I discussed it over dinner.
It was a wholesome heart to heart... I got to describe what “the white monkey dance” is, and how I had no interest in being a part of one, particularly on film, unless it was mutually beneficial.
For example, I don’t want a room full of vases by the end of this little adventure... Money isn’t so much a huge need as it is a symbol... that im not just a pet, but a valued member of the broadcast in more ways than just, “Dance Whitey! Yah... nice... look at how fluently flawed he speaks our language.. hehehe”
That was good enough, and I really do like the growth potential of the experience. Its another insert into Chinese culture that I wouldn’t get to experience otherwise. Its a great way to learn more about Chinese movies, and I cannot express just how much Chinese in the process of preparing: Oodles. Oh look, I expressed it.
I sent little thank you texts to my friends for coming, and asked what I could do better. How do you really answer that question though? I’m interested to see the edited version to decide what I can do better.
Anyhow - one of my friends was super jazzed about watching some of the movies we discussed, so I took my copies of them down to her and we talked for a while. I was asked if I wanted to be a teacher for a long time... and I think we all know the answer to that. She said that I had “heaven piece” (my Chinglish for natural talent) for that kind of position and that she thought.
I’ve been told I have an awesome phone voice before. Thats a pretty bangin’ compliment i’d say.
Saw myself on TV yesterday, and bought two copies of the newspaper with my article in it. HAH!
It was interesting to me because the whole experience kinda threw me into a sour spree where I was in an increasingly foul mood over about a 3 day period. I went to sleep one night and woke up the next day with my foul mood remaining... not a good sign. I was worried I was gonna murder some of my super negligent and retarded students.
And I had the dilemma, do I tell my boss?
First class was fairly good - glad I like them, no teeth related beheadings. I actually liked them enough... and I couldn’t keep my mouth shut, so I told them that I made it onto TV as (inspiration) to speak english as much as possible so that they too can improve at ridiculous speeds hahaha. Yes... I do know the word for narcissistic in Chinese... its been used on me on a few occasions. 自恋 (zi4lian4)
Lunch came and I found my article.
WOw did I brighten right up. My whole school was alight with my new-found fame. Its lovely to bask in that kinda glory I must say. It made surviving the afternoon class of cosmic retards possible.
Instead of being TOOO transparent, I decided to send my boss the following text: (translated from Chinese for your convenience)
“Your marketing department should be very happy. Please buy today’s “Oriental Daily” and look at page A17.”
She called me. Asked me what it meant.... and I told her that she should buy the paper and find out. BLah blah blah - flapping lips, and click.
I don’t think she bought it, because I got no feedback until the next day (today).
She didnt call me... she called the Chinese manager of the school branch I was working at... good thing we’re friends or i’d probably have had to listen to boring and terribly unimpressive speech.
What I know from the conversation is - she’s not happy I went on TV. She’s under the impression that I’m not supposed to do any other form of work while I am a full-time teacher at her school. She wants to know if I got paid for doing it. etc.
The manager she talked to told me that she thought it was a great marketing opportunity for the school.
Regardless... She’s irritated... and if she calls me to do dinner this evening, I shan’t be going because she’s irritated me with her tomfoolery.
I think its funny that I end up coming to blows with the top level of management at each of the schools I work at. I should never have learned how to haggle the Chinese way, because thats really all I’m doing.
This could go a number of directions:
She sees reason and gets over her oppressive jealousy and uses the opportunity as the marketing miracle that it is...
She tries to impress some sort of punishment on me for disloyalty. Any sass of this sort would not be tolerated by yours truly...
She forgets all about it in the next 24-48 hours because she is capricious as all get out.
She tries to get rid of me... which is logistically a joke as far as her company is concerned. She would lose massive amounts of money from irritated students who would no longer be getting a foreign teacher’s instruction at the intervals they paid for.
I’ve got my contingency plans. And i’d be more than willing to go to Taiwan...
I have no intention of being a caged white monkey.