“Signs, signs, everywhere are signs…”

March 16, 2015

Spring Break in China - Reflections

From Ms. Hannah Sobol

On our 10 day excursion to China, Chloe arranged for us to see breathtaking sites. Typically, we would be in a hotel that overlooked a lake surrounded by snowcapped mountains. We saw incredible performances, crazy birds (dead and alive), and ate amazing food.

But scenic views, and great meals aren’t my favorite part of being abroad. I love finding the tiny differences in our culture, like what snacks do Chinese rest stops offer? What exercises do school children do before they start their day? And perhaps the most exciting for me on this trip was noticing signage. Inaccurate translations offered many comic moments for us along the way, one of the best being “Racy Clable” instead of “Recyclable.”

As a person with an accent, I understand the perils of relying too heavily on phonics when it comes to spelling, but I really appreciated their fearless attempt. Native English speakers have the luxury/expectation that no matter where we go, we can use English. But I was humbled by a country’s generosity in making things accessible to visitors (like myself) who don’t have a background in Chinese - that they didn’t let the chance of an incorrect spelling, or wrong word get in the way of trying to open the doors of communication.

Like with anything, a sense of humor helps with the inevitable mistakes that we make when learning something new. The creative translations also offered me to see the world from a different perspective, the best gift of all.

I can’t thank Chloe and her family enough for their generosity in organizing this trip, and for Chloe’s wish to open horizons for her classmates, and for her school.

Chicken feet are often available at rest stops in China.Chicken feet are often available at rest stops in China.

Racy Clable = RecycleRacy Clable = Recycle

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