Welcome to day six of November’s BlogHer NaBloPoMo challenge!
The most random of conversations remind me of the blunders and faux pas that occurred as an expat in Xi’an. In my early days, when beside myself with what to do to keep busy as I hadn’t yet started teaching, I would roam around the outskirts of the university’s old campus, situated a fifteen-minute bus ride from the city’s center.
In order to communicate whatever it was I needed, I took up miming. Arms flailing, pointing, creating air boxes, and exaggerating already eccentric hand gestures, body movements, and facial expressions were all par for the course in getting situated.
Luckily, a friend back in the States, who met his wife in Xi’an, put me in touch with their friend Daphney. Daphney did not seem bothered by my eccentric ways of communicating, nor my impatience, moodiness, or trouble in internalizing a go-with-the-flow attitude.
Come to think of it, growing comfortable with my surroundings took months. I loved so much about Xi’an, and China, and did exude an easygoing approach compared to some non-Chinese colleagues; it would take more months (and ZJ) to really feel at home, and less prone to faux pas, at least as concerned my non-teaching life.