The Most Embarrassing moment while I speak Chinese
National Sun Yan-Sen University- Edrissa Jarjue

My name is Edrissa Jarjue, a graduate student at the National Sun Yat-Sen University. I arrived in Taiwan in August, 2009. I think foreign students have similar experiences when speaking Chinese. At the beginning, I tried to focus on other things, for instance, to get familiar with the new environment, new life styles, new food, new people, etc. However, as time passes by, I realized that once I’m not with my regular friends, I’m totally alone. Thus, there was the need to practice the language. As a result, I try to speak a few words once in a while.
On many occasions when I go to the Carrefour to buy food, there are Taiwanese who can speak English. Furthermore, most of the food is labeled, so it was no problem for me buying things. However, I had a different experience. One day, when I went to the night market during my first year. It was a cold rainy evening, so I wanted some hot tea to warm my body. There was a vendor who was selling drinks. Unfortunately  the entire menu was in Chinese and the lady could not speak English. I had to tell her what I wanted in Chinese. So I said “Hong-cha”. The lady gave me the drink. However, when I started to drink it, I realized it was black tea and very cold, too. I immediately returned it back to the vendor, but could not explain to her what the problem was. She was also confused and could not understand me. What an embarrassment I had that day? Then she spoke to a guy near-by who could speak English. The guy asked me and I narrated the whole story to him. He in turn explained the details to the lady. The lady then prepared warm green tea for me. To my surprise she declined to accept my payment. She just smiled and said “Xie-xie”. This experience gave me the opportunity to feel the hospitality of Taiwanese people. I felt very grateful to the vendor and the guy for helping me out.
 
At this point, I can say that  I still have had fun and enjoyed all the time as I tried to speak Chinese, and I think learning a new language requires a lot of time and patience. Sometimes along the line you can get frustrated, however this should not discourage you. In other words, it should be a motivating factor. I also realized that it just comes along little by little. With time and patience there is always room for improvement.