The Most Embarrassing Moment while I Speak Chinese
National Pingtung University of Science and Technology-Edwin Henry 

It was on the 31 of December 2010 my African Moslem friends and I decided to visit Kaosiung, the second largest city of Taiwan. We were interested in the festivities for the 2011 New Year. As it had been relayed to us that there would be lots on display and entertainment such as gaming, clubbing, performances from various local entertainers and most importantly the magnificent showcase of fireworks which none of us had ever seen before.
 
We left the school at nine. Everyone was excited as we rode our scooters to Ping Tung city where we boarded a train to Kaosiung. We arrived half an hour later.
 
To my delight the city surpassed my expectations. I was fascinated by the infrastructure; commercial stores with fancy colored blinking lights that continuously changed colors. It was vastly different from Ping Tung. We walked around talking in sights and smells, familiarize ourselves with the city. We eventually became hungry so we entered a night market. We came upon a vendor selling an array of tantalizing fried and barbecued meats. I offered to treat the group.  I felt very confident about the few Chinese phrases I had learned. I asked for the price, “Doushao qian?” for a piece of fried chicken. The vendor replied “Wu shi qian”. I ordered for the group. I paid for the four pieces and I took our hot fried chicken and left. I handed each guy a piece and they bit into it. Suddenly, one guy stopped chewing and said “this meat is tough and tastes funny”. I did not utter a word because I had something different from the rest. The second guy shared the same sentiments. I took a bite of his and realized that it was pork. I apologized and we decided to return to the vendor to ask for a refund or an exchange since he did not give us what I had asked for.
 
I approached the vendor and tried to explain the situation but he looked insulted and I could see he was becoming annoyed with me.  He shouted something in Chinese and other customers were staring curiously at me.  As if out of nowhere a distinguished looking older gentleman surfaced and asked in English that the problem was. I told him that I was trying to say that I had asked for fried chicken but he gave me fried pork, so I either wanted my money back or an exchange of the pork for chicken. He then translated for the vendor, who was not appeased. The vendor replied saying that I had asked for pork so he gave me exactly what I ordered.  I was very ashamed and embarrassed because I had created a scene. People were mumbling in Chinese and I couldn’t understand what they were saying. I imagined they were thinking negatively of me. I raised my hands in a gesture of surrender and with a bowed head I tried to slip though the crowd. From then on I took a vow to do whatever it takes to become fluent in Chinese.