Sunday, December 20, 2009

开 Party

Editors note: This post was supposed to go up last night, but then our Cantonese tutor came over and hung out for 6 hours. You know, the women, they just can't stay away.

Some big news: SJ is no more. Yesterday, our beloved Cantonese tutor told us that she had finally decided on an English name. From here on out, she will now be known as Serena. I can think of two possible inspirations for this name:


Serena, from the TV series Sailor Moon


Serena Williams, who told a Japanese line judge that she would shove a "fucking ball" down "[her] [the judge's] fucking throat."

I guess we'll never know.

Serena is currently sitting on the couch next to me helping Gus with his graduate school applications. She just said that something "应该OK啦!" Note the appearance of OK in that sentence. This proves the point that I mentioned in my last post. Learning Chinese is super easy; you just need to make some sounds, then say the English word that you want to say ("OK", "cheap", "cancer"), and then say some more little words. And if you plan a cough or sneeze for the time you're supposed to be saying the Chinese words, you don't even need to make any of the noises. Everybody wins.

Example: Last night, 我们开了party! Or, in non-Oriental: Last night, Gus and I held a Christmas party for all our friends. Throwing parties in China is somewhat stressful. There are some things that are difficult to find. You have to worry about what the best way is to invite everyone in Chinese. There's also the feeling that before you have a party in your apartment you should really get something done about that gaping hole in the floor of your bathroom, get it closed up or something, except that's what most of your guests would refer to as a "toilet". And you don't need to take it out, you need to put tissue paper in there so that partygoers can wipe themselves after squatting over the hole in your floor.

For once, the confusing collision of American and Chinese culture which defines my daily life would happen inside my house. The Guangzhou Castle of Americana. The beating heart of democracy inside red China.

Of course, this is exactly what our guests were hoping for. A real American party! Like, if you search for "开party" on google (sure, I'll wait), the second result is "美国人开party玩什么游戏?" which means "What type of games do Americans play at parties?" Everyone wants to know what it is exactly that we do.

Number one, obviously, is that we don't really play games at parties. One of the responders at the website above hit the nail on the head:
american party 一般都是在家里举行的,大家买很多酒和蛋糕就可以了。
American parties are usually held at one's home, and it's enough to just buy lots of alcohol and cake.
I was really hoping for a lots-of-alcohol-and-cake party rather than a pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey, bobbing-for-apples party, but then every single Chinese person that we invited asked us what types of games we were going to be playing at our party. So I was fully prepared for the possibility that it would turn into a Chinese party despite our best efforts.

And it basically did. We all sat around drinking soda, eating chestnuts and throwing the shells on the floor (the floor of our American apartment) while we played Mafia. Which I find slightly more challenging in Chinese.

And then at the end, all of the Chinese people there realized that it was picture time!, because every Chinese party ends with pictures. So here's a group shot from our Rocking China Christmas Party.


This Christmas, there will be no peace on earth. Also, four people had to leave early. There were more than nine people at our party.

I actually had a really good time. Take that America! Party managed.