You are American!

6 09 2012

Funny conversation with a child on the train to Wuhan for the weekend seminar with Dominque Rascle (I’ll wrap up all the Aikido parts in one post later on, after this long tour in China of Dominique for this year!).

I was sitting and reading and as usual I felt the presence of someone standing at my side and looking at me, at my book or at both. Common feeling, of a common presence, every time I read my book either on buses or trains: Chinese are curious by definition!

This time it was a little kid, not so much taller than my head (and I was sitting): he stared intensively at the book, then at me and then said:

你是美国人!You are American!

It was not a question: a clear statement, as a matter of fact. I was American!

What? Me, American?? I tried to reply at once: 我是美国人!! 不是!I am not American! Not!! But the kid did not want to accept it: he stated once more “You are American” and ran away!

When it came time to get down the train, some stop before mine, the kid appeared again queuing together with his parents. So he pointed me to the father and said: “He is American!”.

I felt I had to try to take a stand and I told him, as clearly as I could: 我不是美国人! 我是意大利人!, I’m not American, I’m Italian!!

Italian is 意大利人 = Yìdàlì rén. The boy seemed to think about that, pondering the words and then a sudden understanding shined on his face:

“ohh… I know (我知道), 你是澳大利亚人!!!!”

澳大利亚人 = Àodàlìyǎ rén = ..Australian!!!!!

OK, he won! I gave up!!!

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