Also, my nemesis. Because I am not learning it very well.
I admit, I neglected my Chinese. I didn’t have time to go through my Rosetta Stone drills when I was actually in China last month, and when I got back I let it go. I neglected my already haphazard study of the Chinese language. Finally, this week, I put the CD back in my computer and started up again. And I discovered that I still don’t know what’s going on. The computer speaks to me, and shows me pictures, and often I can match up one to the other just fine. But I’m not actually learning individual words; I’m getting the general gist, which won’t do me very much good when I actually want to communicate something. I can’t really stand there and look earnest and get anywhere with a gist. Instead, I picture myself, a conspicuously tall blue-eyed white person, wandering around speaking incoherently in my fuzzy impression of Mandarin.
As I got lost in this discouraging daydream, I remembered a funny moment at the Forbidden City in Beijing. My colleague and I looked over and saw a ridiculous sight: an American guy, close to seven feet tall, wearing a cowboy hat. He stood literally a head above anyone else in the crowd. With a cowboy hat.
So I have two things going for me: I’m under six feet tall, and I do not own, nor have I ever owned, nor do I have any plans to own, a cowboy hat.