So you know how I was saying how happy I was to be home? Actually I’m not sure I said that, but I was. Sure England and France will always be my real homes, but it’s nice to get back to my current home and to some sort of normality.
Part of said normality involves going down to our little local fruit and veg store every few days. It’s a ma and pa type store, the guys there all know me, and we always have a little chat in their broken English and my non-existent Cantonese.
Now to give you some context, a little while ago I went on a little fitness regime and got into semi decent shape. I came in once for some fruit wearing my hiking gear, and the woman who owns the shop threw her hands in the air and exclaimed “Oh! You so fit! Oh!! Very good!”
Naturally I was all smiles and fake modesty. (I wasn’t modest at all, I was damn chuffed is what I was. I may even have done a little mental dance of the go me, I’m so fit variety.)
Unfortunately the Chinese tendency to be frank/blunt cuts both ways.
When I went to the same shop after my little France trip, the same woman, *wait for it*, PATTED MY BELLY, and said “Oh! You put on weight! You quite fat!”
She said this with a big smile of course, and in a tone just as pleasant as the last time. Nothing bad meant by it, just an observation. You know, “isn’t it hot today, did you see the storm this morning, wow you’re fat”, sort of thing.
I mean it’s one thing to know that you’ve put on weight, it’s quite another to have it pointed out to you whilst having your spare tire patted! I would also love to know what the appropriate reaction is to having your fat patted by someone. In retrospect, maybe a belly dance would have been appropriate. As it was, I had nothing. I stood, frozen in embarrassment, whilst my wonderful husband did his best to muffle a snort of laughter, and the woman asked me what I wanted to buy.
So there you go, some people spend a fortune on scales that greet them by name, tell them how much weight they have gained or lost, give them an update on the weather and god knows what else. Well, I get that for free every time I go shopping. Silver linings and all…
Anyway, I’m going to brave the humidity and giant summer spiders and start hiking again. Seems I don’t have much of a choice. Wish me luck!