I’ve been thinking a bit about my last post and the incident with Sir Wacky Sack, and one of the realizations that I’ve come to is that I need to be more assertive when I speak Mandarin. When Ron and I were at Catherine Wedding Studio, I said to our saleslady, “你們服裝的“size”是什麼樣？我想問因為我是比較豐滿一點，然後Ron的個子滿高” (“What are the sizes of your outfits like? I want to ask because I’m a bit more ‘voluptuous’ [well, compared to some Taiwanese women anyway] and Ron’s stature is pretty tall.” The saleslady exclaimed, “Hey, you speak Mandarin pretty well! I didn’t think you would when I first heard you speak!” When she got up to get an album, I asked Ron if my accent was really that terrible. He said, no, it’s not, but you don’t seem self-assured when you speak Chinese and you tend to be a little monosyllabic, which gives people the impression that don’t know the language. Bingo!
I need to be more willing to jump into conversations without hesitation, something I usually don’t do even in English. As an introvert, I prefer to be watchful first when I’m in new situations or encountering new people. I don’t have a problem with the way I am, but it’s like I need an entire personality switch here. Honestly, I’m not thrilled about it, but I also see that it is necessary if I want to keep the Sir Wacky Sacks of the world in their little crazy person seats and continue to make the most of my time here. Maybe the personality shift will be literal… if I do become more assertive and forthright communicating in Mandarin here, it will be interesting to see what happens when I’m back in the United States, speaking what I consider to be my mother tongue. Wow. Get ready, America, for the onslaught of abuse, swearing and unsolicited opinions I will be unleashing on you!