Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Chinese Students: The Gift that Keeps on Giving

A couple weeks ago, I had five freshmen over for dinner as a reward for winning a challenge in class. As they walked in the door, the first girl handed me a gift. And then the second girl. And the third, and the fourth, and the fifth. You can see in the picture that I got quite a windfall from those girls: two cups of instant milky tea, two hand-drawn cartoons, four bags of chips, a gift-wrapped trinket, two packages of frozen dumplings, a bag of crunchy snacks, some gummy fruits, a pair of wrist warmers, a bag of popcorn, more oranges than I could eat in a week, and a partridge in a pear tree.

Chinese manners dictate that you shouldn't arrive at someone's house without a gift in hand. (It seems like the gift is often fruit.) But I have never gotten quite so many things in one visit. Thanks to my generous students!

A couple days ago, I received another generous gift. One of my junior students, Gloria, gave me a pillow that she cross-stitched. She has been working on it since this summer, and gave it to me as a thank-you for a couple times I had invited her over. I don't know Gloria very well, so I was surprised and touched that she would give me something she had put so many hours into. You can see from the picture that the front expresses the sentiment "I love pig." The back has a lovely Chinglish fabric, which you can't read in the photo, so I will transcribe it here:

"Have a dream, a song
to sing to halp me cope
with anything."

"A friend is so-
meone who know-
s the song in yo-
ur heart and co-
n sing it back t-
o you when you
have forgotten
the words"

"Friendship is themo
st preoious thing in
allhappiness which
comes to life wisdom."

I love my students and their gifts. Their friendship is preoious indeed!


  1. My, what poor manners YOU have. You never showed up at MY door bearing gifts in hand. I hope you'll have learned your lesson by the time you come back.


  2. Is cross-stitch a popular Chinese thing? When my boss came back from Chengdu, he brought a gift via a sweet Chinese friend ... a cross-stitched picture.

    And I love pig too, but I don't think it says that. I think it says "I like hugs".

    :-) I like hugs too.