Reflections on a Wandering Life.....

Thursday, October 28, 2004

I went to the coffee machine at the language school this morning and noticed some kind of sign taped to it. I couldn't read all the characters, but it seemed to be indicating that there was something wrong with it. There was another foreigner standing there, so I started talking to her about it. She stared at me blankly. Finally she said slowly, "I'm sorry, my English is not very good." Like everyone else in China, I tend to assume, without thinking, that every foreign looking person is American, or at least speaks English. Not so. I have to admit that it always surprises me when I meet people from Europe who don't speak English. The great majority of folks from the EU not only speak English, but speak very good English. I asked the lady where she was from. She said, "Italy." I said, "Well, my Italian isn't very good either."

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