During the break the students mostly left the classroom and stood out on the balcony “enjoying the fresh air” for a few minutes. One girl stayed behind to chat with me, I wish she hadn’t.
“Tom,” she said, “Your face is very white and round.”
“Oh,” I said, completely unsure of how to respond to this, “that’s…nice.”
“Your face is like an apple,” She added. The look on her face showed that she was both nervous and excited by our conversation.
I stared blankly at her and waited to see if she had anything more to tell me, she did. She was so proud of herself, she could barely get the words out, “I want to eat your face!”
I prayed the bell would ring, but the alarm clock showed that we still had a full 3 minutes. “Thank you?” I said, now terrified of what this conversation could possibly mean. I hoped that there was some Chinese idiom, or pop culture reference that I was missing, if there was she never explained it.
I shuffled through the papers I had brought, and acted like I was too busy to hear anything else she said. Finally she sat down, but smiled at me for the rest of class, which wasn’t as friendly as she might have thought it was.
When the bell rang for class to start again. I suddenly remembered what I had planned and regretted it. I was leaving myself open for questions, and after the apple incident, I didn’t know what to expect.
Most of the questions were perfectly acceptable:
Can you use chopsticks? Yes.
Do you like Chinese food? Most of it.
Are you excited for the Beijing Olympics? Very (as if there was any other acceptable answer).
Do you love Chinese girls?
I’m not entirely sure where that question came from, but I’m pretty sure my face went completely red at that moment, fortunately my beard covered up some of that. I stammered for a bit before answering. I wasn’t entirely sure if their question had meant what they thought it meant, and I didn’t want them coming away from the first class thinking I hated Chinese girls, but love wasn’t the right word either. Eventually I decided I had talked enough and could move on to their other questions.
The questions continued about different parts of China, and how much I liked them, which I was thankful for. The bell rang for the end of class, and I was the first one out the door.