Not everyone would be up for the challenge and some would call me crazy. But part of my charm is that I’m willing to knee-deep into situations that have the potential to be, shall we say, interesting.

Friday mornings find me teaching Chinese junior highers (remember the lesson where my students schooled me?). It’s political season in both America and China so we had a lesson on the US election system.

Oh yes, I decided to teach twelve and thirteen-year-olds about the electoral college system.

Are you laughing out-loud? I don’t blame you. It’s a system that is understandable, but not the easiest to explain. In a second language  To tweens and early teens. In classes of more than 40 students.

And then the whirlwind of a morning was done. My voice was shot, yet in a bizarre way fun was had by all as is often the case when exposed to systems different than your own.

A fellow teacher and I hailed a cab to go home to a well deserved lunch. He got in the front seat of the taxi as I scrambled into the back. True to what we’d been told, for the next twenty days, until the Party Congress is over, there will be no rolling down of windows. The handles had been removed. Joann shares a conversation she had with a taxi driver and his answers are understandable, but it’s not the easiest to explain.

Sound familiar? Yup, we’re right here in the messy middle!

What’s something you’ve tried to share with those not from your country about your country? Anything from another culture that makes you scratch your head?


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  1. Cynthia November 4, 2012 at 7:31 am - Reply

    In the spirit of Election season, I was asked by one of my Brazilian students to describe how voting takes place in Canada. She was looking for a short answer but to do the Parliamentary system justice I needed a good chunk of time. So, in the middle of an academic reading class I broke out the voting explanation. At the end of it, she understood it but most of her classmates looked perplexed.

    The removal of car window handles made me laugh because I started to envision a whole fleet of taxi drivers coming together to remove the unnecessary appliances from each other’s cars. Then, while reading Jo’s blog,I pictured all the pigeons using carrier pigeons to send messages to their friends about the no fly zone area. Let’s hope they all get the memo:)

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