The Queen Bees and the Crawling Race

Maladie!!! I have been struck down!!! A terrible awful head cold is threatening my energy levels and my social life! However, I am currently engaging in Advanced Lying Down, and I am quite sure this will have me up and running for the wine tasting event tomorrow afternoon.

So it appears that I will be speaking French in a Chinese accent, if current trends are to continue.. I am finding my place in French Poly-n-Asia, and am interested to find that I am firmly in the ‘bewildered’ social group in the class. Very clear divides are emerging in our little sub-culture. The pecking order is as follows: first come the highly accomplished Chinese girls, who speak better French than the rest of us, and carry themselves with an air of great superiority and maintain an aloof distance from the rest of us riff-raff. They actually provided an answer IN VERSE today. There was no need for it. It was at this point that I realised, this is not a friendly language class where we are all here to make mistakes and laugh and learn -THIS IS A COMPETITION!!! A RACE!! Christ. And I didn’t even know I was running. (Crawling…. I might win a crawling race… I won one once in when I was four… Women of China, be warned!) Next come the very nice Chinese girls, who have lovely self-deprecating senses of humour and don’t attempt anything too poetic, but who still primarily keep their distance in case they catch ‘stupid’ off me. Next comes me, the remaining Chinese and one Korean girl, who spend most of our time fantasising in hushed tones about changing to a different level, thinking how happy we would be frolicking between the simple infinitive and descriptive adjectives. And then, there is Tessa. Oh Tessa. In a category all of her own, a Dutch woman who has lived in France for many years, but has been too busy rearing her small children to learn much French. Now as class B2.5 goes, her French is very good, but she comes up with some terribly mysterious interpretations at times of what she has read or heard, and alienates herself by ensuring she keeps a suitably racist distance from anyone Chinese. She likes to place a buffer, approximately the shape and size (and skin colour) of my good self, between her body and anyone else’s in the class, but I am counteracting this naturally by wearing my “I   ❤️  China” t-shirt to class at least twice a week. There is also one very strange young Chinese man, who over complicates things whenever humanly possible, but he doesn’t show up to class enough to deserve much mention. Oddly, he is very foolishly ignoring the golden opportunity he has been presented, in being surrounded by young Chinese girls whose primary focus in life seems to be to find their Prince Charmings. Very sexist these little ladies are, I find. However, anyone who was relying on this fella for charm would be sadly misled I fear, so maybe it is for the best.

So for now I must return to my sick bed, where I will spend the next four hours or so putting off writing my presentation for tomorrow. I have to speak for five minutes, no more, no less. Normally of course, the “no more” aspect of this task would prove the more challenging for me, but this time it’s en français. I’ve opted to be the first to present, lest some of the queen bees decide to present theirs in iambic pentameter. This way, there’s less pressure, and I can set the tone for the crawling race.