Be Nice to Her When She’s Singing the Blues

March 26, 2012

There is something classy about her. Maybe it’s the elegant, green, flat hat she wore all through winter. Maybe it’s the way her smile grows slowly, sincerely, warmly, long after her eyes have already greeted you with their own warm sparkle. Maybe it’s the fact that she’s the mother of a young professional and yet recently started studying English. And she speaks that limited vocabulary with such careful, beautiful enunciation.

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Taken from beijingifc.org
After rehearsal, she insists I climb into the back of her Nissan (the front seat being reserved for her bag). She drives me approximately two blocks’ distance and parks carefully on the wide sidewalk. There, she points. A bus stop.

We get out of the car, and as she walks me to the stop, she explains: “When I visited my son in San Francisco, everyone was so kind, and helped me, and gave me directions. I want to do this for you in my country.” She is smiling broadly, motherly. To me, comfortingly.

I had been forty-five minutes late to practice that day because I can never find the damn place. It had been a cold, achingly polluted day. I had rearranged a student’s schedule in order to have two hours to find the rehearsal location. My nose ring had fallen out and been lost to the many bricks in the sidewalk, and I had no idea where or how to replace it. I hadn’t exactly been “feeling” China at all lately. And the piece we were to sing three weeks’ hence was HARD. (At least to me.)

“See,” she explains proudly, kindly. “You can take either of two buses straight here without that long walk.” And I was there, in just the right place, and all was well.

(See a forlorn-looking newbie to your country? For the love of god, be nice to her.)

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