I talked to Stick last night in my pre-visit freakout. Because I haven’t seen him in so long, I feel like this is going to be a first date. In a way, I’m excited about it. I love first dates, and I haven’t had one since I was 22 (it was Stick then, too). But I’ve never had a two-week long first date in a semi-developed country.
Anyway, Stick asked me what I could say in Chinese. I thought for a moment how unimpressive What time is the bus? and Check please! sound, and then sang him the famous Mice Love Rice song. Thanks to constant exposure for the last five months, I know all the words. In America, the top 40 songs tend to be overplayed, while in China, there are only 5 songs on every radio station, in every shop and in every bar.
“It means I love you, loving you, like a mouse loves rice,” I said, as I finished my musical debut.
“Rice? No cheese?” Stick asked, “Are Chinese mice lactose intolerant, too?”
i told him about my mouse-teacher confusion. Lao shu is mouse and lao shi is teacher, and they sound exactly the same to my Western ears. This is why I’m so awful at speaking Chinese. “And that’s why I thought it was about a teacher loving rice.” I finished.
“Maybe you’re right.” Stick said, “Maybe it’s ‘I love you like a foreign teacher who doesn’t like Chinese food likes rice’? Meg, you have your own song!”