June 14, 2007

$12.50 to the support fund!

For those of you supporting me next year, I have good news! Instead of needing to raise $20,000 in support, I just need $19,987.50. I won a 100 yuan bet tonight ($12.50) off of a teammate. He underestimated me.

Let me explain some of the context.

Every week our team has dinner together and almost exclusively we go to the same restaurant. One of the advantages of living in a country that you can't read the language (Wo can bu dong!) is that you can name the restaurants/streets/stores. Our favorite restaurant is one we named Babylonian Minstrel (long story).

Tonight was different than the dozens before it, I really stepped out in my language skills. Dan encouraged me to write our order in Chinese characters. I successfully wrote 4 dishes. They were (typed in pinyin here): gan bian dou jiao (green beans), jing jiang rou si (pork slivers and onions), kung pao ji ding (kung pao chicken), and rou mou qiezi (eggplant).

Chinese food in China is eaten family style, so everyone normally votes on dishes. I said, "Ok, what about "tou dou si"? (potato slivers)

At that point, Mikayla confessed she didn't like them and that they were tasteless in her opinion. (gasp!) Dan and Rachel agreed. I was shocked. We ordered them only because I suggested it this whole year?

Stephen and Adam joined us later, because they were across town when we left for dinner. When they sat down I asked them what they thought of "tou dou si". They both said they liked it. Then I told them that Mik, Rach, and Dan didn't like the potato slivers we always ordered. At that point, Dan suggested that if I really wanted some, I could ask the couple next to us for a bite. Indeed, next to us sat a super cute and young Chinese couple with "tou dou si".

It quickly turned into a dare with Stephen offering 100 yuan (one day's salary!) to me, if I got a chopstick full of potato from the couple next to us. Everyone was adding hilarious commentary. In my mind, I was stringing together sentences to explain to the couple that I needed a little bit of potatoes to gain a large sum of money.

I did it, I got some potatoes. And this is verbatim (translated) what I said. (Insert tons of hand motions and a big smile.)

I walked over to their table, chopsticks in hand. Pulled out a chair and sat down. This is what I said in Mandarin, "My name is Allison. They (pointing) are my friends. I want a little potato sliver. My friends have 100 yuan for me. I'm sorry. Is that ok?" They nodded and smiled back. My friends were knee-slapping, watery-eyed laughing. I had a potato sliver and said "Thank you!"

We left almost immediately afterward and Dan asked the couple if they understood what happened. They said they completely understood. Yeah!

Don't worry, I picked up their tab. Everyone won, and Stephen got a great laugh for just $12.50! (Insert a wink here.)

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