A Telling Moment

April 13, 2006

In Chinese class this morning, we learned how to say, “I smoke cigarettes”: “Wo chou yan.”

Our instructor asked several of us (me included) if we smoked. Each time he asked, he was met by a wrinkled nose or wince of pain and an adamant “bu chou!” (“No smoke!”)

Finally, he asked the class, “Who here smokes?” Out of nearly 40 students, not a single hand shot up. Pretty cool, huh? Despite our record-breaking rain in the last two months, it made me grateful to live in California.