If you recall, we have to get all of our fresh foods from the traditional markets around town. This is a chore we have gotten used to during our time here, and we have become pretty confident in our “market Chinese”. Market Chinese consists of the phrase “I want ____.” and the numbers. Our Market Chinese rarely fails us, although from time to time, we do have to ask some vendors to repeat themselves before we can understand the cost.
With all that said, let’s journey back to last week. I was sent to the market across the street from school with the simple mission of purchasing 8 eggs for our use that week. I approached the vendor with confidence because we are frequent customers, and the couple who runs the stand is always nice to us. Normally we just pick out the number of eggs we want and place them in a bag for the owners to weigh, but today, the lady was feeling extra helpful. She asked me how many eggs I wanted (I think) and I told her eight (in Chinese of course, and I even included the modifier used when stating a number of things, I got skills). As she started to count out eggs and place them into the bag, I was feeling very proud of myself (you’ve gotta embrace the little things). By the time I looked back down and was about to reach for the bag, I noticed that there were definitely more than eight eggs in my bag. I repeated my Chinese for eight several times, but she was still loading me up.
Before we proceed with the story, I should tell you that I am a non-confrontational person. I don’t like to make people feel bad, or make them think I am upset with them. This is especially the case when people are trying to help me. It is something I am working to overcome, and I’ve come a long way, but occasionally, it is still really hard for me to feel as if I’m being rude to someone. It doesn’t help that in this case, there was an added language barrier.
I finally got over my aforementioned fear of confrontation, and reach over and told her it was okay, and that I didn’t want any more in the best way that I could. She understood and put back the 20th egg she was about to put in my bag. She then handed the bag to her husband and he proceeded to weigh the bag and tell me how much it was. This whole time I’m thinking, what am I going to do with 18 eggs (that was the final count). Of course I couldn’t help laughing over this egg mishap, and since then, Nick and I have been having an eggcellent time eating all those eggs. 🙂
You may be wondering, as I was, how she misunderstood eight for some eggstreme number. I asked my co-workers this, and one of them mentioned that for certain products, like eggs, people in Taiwan measure the amount in weight, so we came to the conclusion that she thought I wanted eight kilos of eggs. I’m certainly glad I stopped her when I did!