Thursday, November 15, 2007

A Brief Encounter

Coming to and fro from our apartment I often run into the lad who lives right below us. Typically we meet in the stairwell where she is slowly helping her young daughter down the stairs.

As they go down or up the stairs, the mother counts the steps to the daughter in Chinese.

Often I hold the outside door open for them, or wait at the bottom of the stairs to pass. We always smile at each other and say hello, and thank you to each other in Chinese. And as they are pretty much the only chinese words I know, our conversations end there.

Tonight as I left my apartment I ran into them again. Both of them moved to the side of the stairs so that I could pass. As I went by them, the mother said, "oh you live just up stairs?" And then "on the third floor?"

In English.

I smiled and politely answered in the affirmative all the while internally I am laughing that she speaks English. She had never spoke it before so I assumed she only spoke Chinese.

I was too flabbergasted in fact to say much more, but I look forward to being able to speak with her a little more when we meet again.

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