There are so many funny and interesting things that my students say on a daily basis, but oftentimes I forget to get on here and blog about them. Just the other day, I was teaching my students the word “defective” (don’t ask me why, but it was part of the vocabulary in our chapter of the textbook that day), and my student Jeff calls out, “Oh, I know this word! Everything made in China is defective!” and everyone in the classroom erupted into laughter. Of course Americans always joke that any products labeled “Made in China” are cheap and defective, but who knew that the Chinese were joking about it as well?
Anyways, last week we had a lesson about all of the important components of telling a good story. I taught them about the five W’s (who, what, when, where, and why) and some starter phrases like, “I remember when…” Their homework assignment was to tell me about an unforgettable experience they’ve had, and their responses ranged from ridiculous, to sad, to interesting and strange….so I thought I’d share a few with you!
Here’s a story from Louis.
I remember one thing that I will never forget. When I on my way home from my shopping, I noticed a fire. I called the fire department immediately. In a few minutes, the fire fighters came and started work. But it was not easy to put out the fire, because there was not enough water. In addition, the wind was high, which made the situation worse. The fire fighters were doing their best. But, all of a sudden, a foreign lady rushed to fire fighters for help. She was talking quickly in English and made lots of gestures to show the fighters couldn’t understand what she was saying. They tried to call the fire station for an interpreter. But the lady started crying. I waved to her and asked her what had happened. She was very excited to see someone speaking her language. She told me her baby was in her bedroom on the second floor. I told the fire fighters right away and they sent one man there by a high ladder. Her baby was rescued and the lady gave me a big hug. I felt excited because I made use of my English learnt from my school.
My plagiarism sensor is going off after reading this one, but I REALLY really hope that this is a true story. It’s incredible! Here’s another story from Russ:
August 5 was a special day. It was my eighteenth birthday on the way to become an adult. I didn’t go out with my relatives as usual. I went to Zhejiang Daily Newspaper building to experience how an editor of Zhejiang online website worked. In the morning we visited many offices, chatted with Wang Zhidang the former CEO of sina (?) and we tried to edit a report and send it to the internet. We also had a debate about whether kids being online was good. I stood on the positive side, that was, we should get online to learn, to relax, to shop, to play, to make friends and to name just a few. We took some pictures to accept as a souvenir. We had lunch there and watched movies afterwards. Spiderman 2 was truly realistic. We were fascinated by the cool actions, scared by the ugly beast, and encouraged by the brave hero.
I think it’s cute that Russ had a very educational field trip as a birthday party and still remembers it as an “unforgettable experience.” Most American kids would not feel the same way! Here’s another one from Leo:
It was a nice day in summer vacation. Before I work up in the morning, Mom and Dad had already gone to work. After the breakfast, I opened my notebook. A red circle on the calendar attracted my eyes. Today’s Mom’s birthday! Mom even didn’t notice me before! It was late for me to buy a gift for Mom. What should I do? An idea suddenly came to my mind. During the following time, I swept the floor, cleaned the window and did the laundry. It was exactly 12 o’clock when I finished all of the above housework. Ten minutes later, seeing the happiness in Mom’s eyes, I knew that’s the best gift for Mom’s birthday! This is the most unforgettable thing I’ve ever had.
How nice! Here’s another story from Libby about a good deed:
I have an unforgettable experience. I went to the supermarket to buy some supplies on Friday afternoon. When I was going to pay the money, I found that many people in the front of checkstand, so I just to wait. It was my turn to pay, but I couldn’t find my wallet and I didn’t know how to do. When I was helpless, a fellow student said to me that, “I help you to pay for it,” and then he gave the money to the cashier. Finally we together out of the supermarket. For me, it’s very important and unforgettable.
It’s happened to the best of us. But sometimes the best experiences involve being a little bad, as Joanna demonstrates in her story:
I have had an unforgettable experience. One time in a Wednesday evening, my friends and I go to eat hot pot and too late, there is no return to the school. (Sidenote: The students have a 10:00 PM curfew. Anyone returning to campus between 10 and 10:30 must sign their name to a “late log,” and anyone returning after 10:30 is out of luck because the gate is locked for the night.) Then we went to KTV (karaoke) all night, we are very happy, singing voice is dumb. The second day return to school. I have a bad cold and lay down on the bed. Although tired but happy, is very exciting. It’s really an unforgettable experience.
Good for Joanna for being a little rebellious! I think Chinese colleges have too many rules and they treat their students like children. Everyone needs a chance to cut up once in a while! Here’s another story from Amanda, who also stayed out late one night, but did not have a very positive experience:
I have an unforgettable experience. One time, I am going to find my friend take the bus. She tell me where she is, but she didn’t tell me at which stop should I get off. Later on, I found the bus gets more remote. Originally, I have missed my stop. So I had to wait for the bus arrived at the terminus and then wait for it take back. At the time, I was really scared. Because of in the evening. What’s more, the passengers just one who is with me on the bus.
I would have been scared too! Here’s a story from Wendy that reflects on a childhood memory:
An unforgettable experience: bicycle for the first time. When I was seven years old, my father taught me to ride a bicycle. There was a wide round nearby our house. At that time, I knew nothing about riding. My father get the bike to me, and show me how to ride. At first, I couldn’t do it, hurt myself many times, also my knees bleeding. That was so pain, almost I got to cry. Be going by time after time, I learned it. It is an unforgettable experience in my lifetime, keeping in my mind up to now.
I just like this story because my dad also taught me how to ride a bicycle at around the same age. I like how some experiences are universal, no matter what part of the world you’re from. Here’s a creepier childhood reflection from Afra:
When I was twelve years old, I remembered I saw a strange man which wear a black jacket standing in my garden. I asked him, “Who are you? What are you doing in my garden?” He said, “I’m your neighbor. I’m looking for my cat. I can’t find it. Can you help me?” “Why not?” I smiled. “What is your cat’s name?” I asked. “It called Luck,” he answered. “Where could the cat go? Maybe it will be on the tree,” I think. At last, we found it in my apple tree.
About halfway through the story I found myself wanting to scream, “Go back inside the house! Go get your mother!” Apparently parents don’t teach their children to avoid strangers…but at least everything turned out alright in this story. Here’s another story from Eric about a not-so-honest mysterious stranger:
I have had an unforgettable experience one time. In summer, I with my friend go to Hangzhou. We go to there by bus. On the bus, we looked someone poked about in a girl’s bag. So we think he is a thief. At that moment, we stop him. The thief was frightened by the sound. The people on the bus aware of this. So someone dial 119. When the bus arrive at the station, the police are at the station. They will apprehend the thief. So this is my unforgettable experience. I stop the thief. I was happy.
How exciting! It’s rare that you can actually catch a criminal red-handed! Here’s one last story about something that happens to me on almost a daily basis, but I’ve never stopped to really reflect on it like my student Victoria did:
How the time flies! I’m 21 years old now. During the long time, there was one thing that I will never forget. The Spring Festival is our traditional festival. During the Spring Festival, people usually visit their friends and relatives. When I was nine years old, my family took the bus to my grandparents’ to say “Happy New Year” to them. In the bus, I had a good seat. At 7:30, the bus came to a village. A woman got on with a baby in her arms. At that time, there was no seat. But she must look after her baby carefully. She had to stand next to me. I wanted to stand up and let her sit down, but I was afraid of hearing the other people say, “That girl want to be praised.” I looked around. Most people were looking out of the windows and some were sleeping. Suddenly, a little boy behind me stood up and made room for the woman. She said, “Thank you very much,” with a big smile. The boy smiled too. From that I learn that we should do our best to help people who need help. If everyone makes a contribution to helping others, the world will become more beautiful.
What a lovely thought! I hope you enjoyed reading through some of my more interesting homework assignments! I’ll have to do this again sometime.