A Couple of Embarrassing Experiences

Since arriving in Taipei I’ve had my share of embarrassing experiences.  Most of them involve my very sad Mandarin skills or other communication issues.  Here are a few of the many:

Once, while trying to say “I like to eat delicious shrimp” I told my Mandarin teacher, “I like to eat delicious children.”  Her reaction was a dumbfounded look of horror.

Then, this week I thought I would look all smart if I asked the Chinese lady at the information desk at Taipei American School where the nurses office was in Mandarin.  So I got the question all worked out in my head and walked up and asked her.  Perplexed stare.  I asked her again.  Another perplexed stare.  So then I just asked her in English.  Her response in English, “Why did you say it like that?”  My response, “Because I’m a stupid American who can’t speak Mandarin.”

And now for the coup de grâce.  Last night we went to dinner at Taipei 101 with some friends.  After dinner we went to Cold Stone in the food court for some ice cream.  The teenage boy at the cash register wore a name tag which indicated that his English name was “Edge”.  So naturally I asked him if he was a big U2 fan.

Edge:  (expressionless blank stare)

Me:  You know, the rock group, U2!

Edge: (expressionless blank stare)

Me:  U2!  Bono!

Edge: (expressionless blank stare)

Me: (resorting to singing in the food court, with some dance moves thrown in for good measure) ♬It’s all right, it’s all right, it’s all right.  She moves in mysterious ways, oh-h-h.♬

Edge: (slightly wider-eyed expressionless blank stare)

Me: (turning to Shaun, the husband of the couple we were with, who speaks fluent Mandarin) Ask him if his name is after The Edge from U2.

Edge and Shaun: (polite interchange in Mandarin)

Shaun:  He said that Edge is after an American WWF wrestler.

Me:  Well that’s just sad!

Jason:  You’re a complete embarrassment.

3 thoughts on “A Couple of Embarrassing Experiences

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