My most embarrassing moment while speaking Chinese
National Cheng Kung University- Jose Divas

I have being in Tainan for about one year and six months and do appreciate the free Chinese classes that are given to us by the language department.  I attended all class, though I might skip on the quizzes, and final exam.  I strive and emphasize on the tones, sadly I will tell you that I have not being so successful with that.  Well here is a little anecdote.

Close to my school there is a famous alley that sells food relatively cheap. I have made friend with almost all the 老闆 (Lǎobǎns) on that stretch.  Given that my Chinese is not as good as I would like, I have chosen one stall per food that I want to eat.  Therefore on my arrival to the stall upon signaling, the Laoban already knows what my order is.  This has work for me for the food stalls that are already establish, but I am facing difficulties with the new ones. 

There is a lovely, well decorated and clean stall that has recently being opened.  On a certain day I approach it to look inside, like every curious creature that I am.  The people were all inviting me to come in, but I had to decline given that I had already eaten.  I politely expressed that next time I would come in; nonetheless an elderly lady took me by that arm and was taking me inside.  Seeing that she was gently pulling me, I tried to ask her if she was going to invite me.  In my poor Chinese, I think I asked her if you wanted to kiss me.  I got a “bu xing”.  The lady was stunned; she looked at me, shortly laughed and told me she was married.  She continued saying other things which I did not understand.  I will tell you that after realizing what had happened I felt so embarrassed never happened before. To make it worse, a couple that was sitting nearby and had heard everything what we said, were lending themselves to repeat what had transpired.  In minutes I think at least the entire staff was laughing.

Every time that I passed the said stall, I am greeted with a smile.  I can’t hold it back and smile, I think I get red because the smile that is given to me is soon followed by laughter.  This happened maybe about three months ago, I have tried to absent myself to see if they would forget, but looks like they have a very good memory. 

I wish they really forgot, because just last week ago while with some friends.  One of them was telling a joke, and  it was about the things we said in Chinese at times.  I don’t where a classmate of mine came from, but the next thing I know he is telling the story of a guy which happened to me.  I stayed quiet the whole while; I forced laughed so they would know it was me.  I thought to myself, what an experience that was.