Today, I ate with the cutest Chinese student couple I've ever seen. They're both non-English majors, but through a series of weird and random encounters, I met up with them finally for lunch after my classes.
Their english names? Pudding and Alvin. And I'd like to add that Pudding is the boy and Alvin is the girl.
All afternoon, the three of us connected in ways and on levels that people who I can speak perfect English with never could. It is odd when you realize although someone does not understand your words exactly, they still understand your meaning. And yet, so many of my English-speaking American friends I have trouble with communicating with? Why? We both speak the language! Maybe we should both start speaking in the simplest of words? Maybe we should always dumb the language down until our friendship is worked up enough to withhold the burden and fickleness of weighty three-syllable+ words?
Whatever the reasons, I had a fun time explaining to Pudding and Alvin why their English names were so funny. Telling them that Alvin was a little boy cartoon chipmunk's name was hard, but eventually, it clicked inside both their heads. And that's when the light flickered on in Pudding's eyes!
"Oh! I know your mean! You think "why are our names a 'food' and an 'animal?'" Pudding said.
"Exactly," I said. "You understand me exactly!"
And in the freezing, brisk Linyi City air, we walked and laughed and talked and mumbled in our broken Chinglish knowing that no matter where the conversation turned, we could always count on bringing it back to smiles with me asking them two simple words: "food" and "animal???"
I've yet to see Chinese people laugh so hard.