Second cousin language?

So I’ve been back in Shanghai for about 3 days now. It’s interesting and slightly sad that I forgot how different things are here. Whithin 5 short months I became so accustomed with the States again that I’d forgotten how different China is. Aaaanyhow, the following are some of the highlights that I’ve experienced in the past three days:

I stick out like a sore thumb here… or more accurately like a giraffe in a hoard of deer. When I was waiting for the metro I noticed two Chinese people signing to each other. It’s always interesting to me to watch conversations between people who are deaf because they get so animated and passionate about what they’re saying, but there is no sound. Super cool. Well, I noticed they were looking at me, and I could pick up what they were signing to each other; they were talking about my height. They were guessing how tall I was… that’s when I decided to join in. I motioned that they were wrong and then told them how tall I am with hand signals for numbers in Chinese. They were shocked that I could communicate with them and started smiling and laughing… then I realized what just happened. I had communicated to two Chinese people who are deaf… that’s like two language gaps. You know how they say ‘you have your first cousin, then you have your second cousin’, well, you have your first foreign language, then you have your second foreign language. It was such a cool experience, and hopefully made their day. It made mine.

When I walked in to the bank yesterday, the greeter asked me what I wanted to do, then attached himself to my hip. He took me to the teller and stood right next to me while I sat for the entire transaction (which was like 15 minutes). Half way through I looked up at him with an ‘oh you’re still there’ look and then smiled with a ‘yep you’re still there confirmation’. He was probably in his early twenties and spoke English well. He said something like “You know, since the man by the name of George W. Bush, the relation between our countries is not so good. He sees us as an enemy.” I imagine he said that to explain why he was standing at my side. I decided to keep it lighthearted. ‘Oh, and what about Obama? What does he think?” I asked. “Obama says we are friends… as long as we support Wall Street.” I giggled through our entire conversation. A) because it was such a foreign experience.. and he was ‘so matter of factly’ about everything, and B) I was actually slightly nervous and wanted to communicate that I’m no threat. Then I began to wonder where he gets his information… well, and if that’s going to be the process every time I go to the bank.

…and there we go. I move in to my apartment tomorrow, so here’s to hoping it rocks!

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