Here I am, guest lecturing at Tony Liu's English class at Yangshan University. I didn't know what to say, so I taught them some old SAT tips for guessing the meanings of words you don't know.
I was honored to be asked to do this, and it was a great way to balance out some of the negative feelings I was having toward China based on the militaristic way this boxing tournament has been run.
After the class we went out for lunch with Mr. Zhang the philosopher, and although I've always had scorn for Americans who travel abroad and eat at US chains, my relief was immense when they took me to Pizza Hut. The garden veggie pan pizza was manna from heaven. Between that and the traditional Chinese medicine candies Tony gave me, my stomach seems to be on the mend.
The students were very shy about asking questions but slowly they opened up. At the end a young man asked, "So many goods in America are now made in China. What do you think about this?"
"Wow, can I be honest?" I asked Tony.
He said I could.
It was hard to tell how the students responded to my rambling monologue about locovorism, suicide in Apple factories, and the global village. They laughed in odd places. It was hard, all in, to tell how they responded to anything about me. But I've always believed that with teaching you just have to put yourself out there, because you never know who you'll touch or how.
My favorite question was: "Your dress is very beautiful. Where did you get it?"
I got it in Brooklyn, but the shoes are from Beijing.