#5 Good Friends Overseas - Blending in

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Dec 28, 2016 02:31
Only two days into the event, the English speaking contestants and I became very good friends. Peter, a Brit, usually sat beside me on shuttle buses. He insisted that I speak English in a British accent after he’d learned that I could. “A British accent will make you sound like a gentleman.” He sounded very proud of his accent. So, during the entire event, I assumed a British accent with characteristic clipped tones, like: “Pass me a bottle of wa^ter.” Meanwhile Lucy, a Melbournian, spoke English in a cute accent I’d never heard before. It was interesting to watch a batch of native speakers speak English with different accents all at the same time, with the conservation being utterly intelligible.

I blended in quite well. They didn’t treat me as an “outsider.” For example, they praised China on camera; but back in their rooms, they criticized many problems of the nation, even in my presence. Whew! Weren’t they a bunch of hypocrites! I tried to defend, but didn’t take it offense, because every nation had its own problems and I could equally mock their nations. Anyway, this could be a part of their humor – the Aussies in my group once taunted themselves as descendants of British criminals. Besides, I was glad that we were good friends merely because they treated me as an individual rather than a token of the nation that they loved, or at least pretended to during this event. Moreover, I firmly believed that showing the positive sides of yourselves is a much better way to speak for your country. They would think, “Hey! That guy’s cool; different from what I’ve heard from media.” The more cases they met, the more likely they would change their stereotypes.

They looked like wonks/preppies on the outside, but deep down they loved to look for fun. They occasionally threw slumber parties and invited me in. With music on, ladies applied facial masks on their freshly-scrubbed faces, gossiping which cosmetics brand was the best. Guys sat around swigging beer from bottles, cracking jokes I didn’t quite get. They sometimes went to drink and dance at downtown pubs, where they magically transformed themselves into their uninhibited egos. They merged into the pub crowd, dancing wildly, and sometimes dragging me in. Some of them were real cocktail experts. One time, in a bar, an American student from another group asked for a cocktail (I don’t know the name of it), sprinkled salt on the web between her thumb and index finger, and licked it all up before she gulped down the alcohol and bit a piece of lemon. Obviously enthralled with her professional drinking skills, the bartenders vigorously applauded.
才过两天,我就和英语国家的学生成为了好友。Peter和我经常在摆渡车上坐一起,得知我会说英式口音后,坚持让我说英式英语。“英式口音会让你听起来非常绅士。”听起来,他好像对他的口音非常自豪。所以在整个活动中,我都在说英式英语,带上特有的促音,比如这句话:"Pass me a bottle of wa^ter." Lucy, 墨尔本女生,说着一口非常可爱的口音,我以前没有听过。看着一群来自不同英语国家的人,说着不同的口音,但彼此沟通无障碍,非常有意思。

我很快融入了他们的圈子。他们没有帮我当成一个外人。比如,在镜头前面,他们对中国赞美不已。但是回到房里,就是另外一回事了,当着我的面也说。额,一群伪君子!我会辩护,但是不觉得是冒犯,每个国家都有自己的问题,我也可以嘲笑他们国家的问题。而且,这也可能是他们幽默的一部分。我们组的澳洲人自嘲说,他们是英国罪犯们的后代。我们成为好朋友是因为他们把我当成具体个人,而不是他们所喜欢的这个国家的代表(即使可能是表面上,因为比赛需要。)而且,我深信,表现自身的闪光点,是宣扬自己国家最好的方式。他们会认为:“这家伙不错。和我从媒体上听说的不一样。”他们遇到的类似情况越多,他们就会改变他们的成见。

他们看起来很学院派,但私底下却很会找乐子。比如,他们有时候会开睡衣派对,会喊上我。音乐响起,女孩们刮脸敷面膜,讨论哪个化妆品牌子最好,男生们则对着瓶子吹啤酒,说一些我get不到笑点的笑话。有时候他们也会去市中心的酒吧,突然换了一个人似的,无拘无束起来。他们会加入酒吧里面的人群,跳得很起劲,还会把我拉进去。有一些人还是鸡尾酒专家级好手,有一次在酒吧里,一个其它组的美国女生要了一杯我不知道名字的鸡尾酒,把盐撒到拇指和食指上,舔干净,然后一杯酒干完。酒保们看呆了,然后一起大声鼓掌。