Here’s a “you don’t have to read” first: using an emoticon in a post title. Frowny. That’s right.
So the internet guy called, and said he couldn’t come in the morning. Is one ok? Sure, I said.
Then he called again at 11:00 and said my building didn’t support a 2M connection. C actually took this phone call and then explained it to me afterward, because my five months of Chinese language instruction never included internet connection vocabulary. He said that 2M was more than I needed anyway, and that I should go BACK to the China Telecom office and ask for a downgrade to 1M.
So that’s what I did with my lunch hour, back down to that p.o.s. office. Luckily the lady I at the counter did not have the same irrational fear of speaking directly to a foreigner like the little puke I had the last two times. Anyway, she was nice, she told me that with the downgrade, I wouldn’t have to have telephone installed, and that I would get money back. And imagine, she said it all in Chinese, and I understood it. Because I speak Chinese? Hardly. Because she listened to what I was saying, and gathered from my broken Chinese what I was trying to say. Unlike the puke who couldn’t look me in the eye.
The language barrier is nothing compared to the fear barrier. Fear of saying the wrong thing, fear of sounding stupid, fear of not being understood, fear that makes you talk constantly, fear that keeps you from formulating a clear, concise, understandable message, fear of unknown words, fear of the language barrier. My friends and former students know this about me: if they had a fear barrier, I would be on the other side of it, mocking them. I have extensive training on how to help people over a language barrier, but the most successful strategy I found for getting people over the fear barrier is to give them a taste of the freedom on the other side. But unfortunately, that’s not so easy to do when I’m the one with the language barrier, and the puke is the one with a massive fear barrier.
Anyway, so the nice lady re-did my order, gave me a refund, and told me three times (because I asked three times) that the installer dude couldn’t come today, it would have to be tomorrow. Dammit!
On the way back to the office, I stopped at the cafeteria for lunch to go. I got rice, greens, and what I thought was chicken in black bean sauce. Of course, when I got back and smelled it, I realized it was not chicken, and C confirmed that it was, indeed pork tripe. Meh. I ate half of it. I’m not against pork tripe, but I was disappointed it wasn’t chicken.
Work is challenging. I like the creative aspect of it, and it’s all shiney and new at this point, but I wonder if I left one burnout job for another burnout job? One thing I do know, it’s exactly what I signed up for. As always, I wish there were more linguists in the room.
And more Filipinos.