Friday, November 12, 2010

A Charlie Brown Life

Dear Chinese,

Unrequited love - it was always a theme that bored me to death.  And the whole Charlie Brown/Lucy football thing always infuriated me.  Why didn't Charlie Brown ever just move on and give up?  Lucy was NEVER going to let him kick the silly ball.  And then she would crow over him about it too.  "Haha, Charlie Brown!  You failed again!" What sort of friend does that?!

And yet, isn't this how you treat me?  I study and study and study and beg and beg for any kind of sign that I'm improving or being accepted... It's like a bad rerun where I run my hardest and fall flat on my back over and over and over again.  And yet, do I give up?  No, because for some really odd reason that I am unaware of, I still believe that one day effort will result in success.  One day I tell myself, I will be able to express myself in Chinese.  One day, I naively believe, I will be treated like family rather than like a white foreigner.

And now look at my relationship with Korean:

The other day I walked into a Korea restaurant and ordered in butchered Korean, dukbokki and kimchi jun.  While my roommate pondered over the menu, I casually looked at the kdrama being played on the TV and asked the restaurant owner/manager about it.  She responded and I noted that a few of the faces were familiar.  So then I challenged my roommate to figure out the entire drama while we waited for our food - this was fairly easy since both love triangles showed up in the five minutes we were there.  I casually re-translated one of the words from what the subtitle said to what the Korean actor actually said and soon the owner/manager was at my elbow asking me where I had learned so much about Korea.  She was enthusiastic and said she thought that I had lived in Seoul and had wanted to know for how long.

You see?  I casually know something about Korea and suddenly I have a fan.

But with you?  Somehow it's all mixed up.  I get mad at myself at a soccer game and find myself yelling in frustration in Chinese.  I have a dream with a war veteran who I'm talking about his home state of Pennsylvania with in Chinese.  I think all day by myself in Chinese.  But get me around a Chinese person and my mind goes blank.  Instead, I stumble around with a suddenly-limited Chinese vocabulary slapped together with American grammar.  It's an absolute mess.  There is no casual conversation about music or dramas or Chinese current events.  There is no casual conversation at all.  It's more like me running after that silly football and just landing flat on my back.

I think I'm still hoping for a George Albert Smith/Lucy Woodruff ending.  (or perhaps more appropriately,a 惡作劇之吻 ending) (or we could also go with the Korean counterpart: 장난스런 키스)


1 comment:

  1. Someday I will reach this point in Korean. And I will not enjoy it.
    English is holding you back. Just do everything in Chinese.