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英语趣闻:痴迷中国文化的美国夫妇

2014-09-26    来源:中国日报网    【      美国外教 在线口语培训

英语趣闻:痴迷中国文化的美国夫妇

Slater and Emma are an American couple that have lived in China for four years. They are both English teachers. Slater is thin and has short-hair. He is quiet but amiable. Emma, on the other hand, is talkative and likes to laugh. Blonde and brown-eyed, Emma looks like the typical American girl next door you see in the movies.

Emma begun studying Chinese a year ago; however, she has made amazing progress. Aside from her excellent pronunciation, she has mastered nearly 1,000 Chinese words. She says she finds the best way to improve her spoken Chinese is to communicate with strangers. She often goes to squares or parks and starts up conversations. For instance, if she sees an older woman with her grandchild, Emma will start with saying how cute the kid is. She says that Chinese people, although usually a bit shy at first, are very easy to talk with.

Although Slater speaks only a little Chinese, he is more knowledgeable about Chinese customs and culture, including the unspoken rules of interpersonal exchanges. When having conversations with Chinese people, Slater will interpret a person's meaning and tell Emma, who will then respond accordingly.
Emma studied medicine in college, while Slater’s major was graphic design. Due to the economic recession, he could not find a suitable job after graduation, so after graduating he worked as a cashier in a grocery store. This must have been pretty boring for a young, educated man. Thus, when one of his friends asked him if he was willing to take on a teaching position in China, Slater jumped at the chance.

At the crossroads of life, shy Slater proclaimed to Emma: “Marry me, and we can go to China together, or I will go by myself!” Emma replied: “Alright!” When her mother heard of this she was not happy. But Emma eventually talked her round. “When we grow up, our parents become more our friends rather than our parents,” she said.

Although, Slater and Emma were born and grew up in the United States, they don’t come across as typical Americans. To begin with, they are both vegetarian, they like Chinese vegetable dishes, but are particularly keen on Chinese tofu. Each time they return to the States, they said they miss tofu very much.
“What a pity my mother has never tasted authentic Xi’an tofu.” Emma said.
They said that although they found it easy thing to make friends back home, in China it is much easier and friends stay in touch, unlike in the US friends might not be in contact for years.

“Say I'm pregnant. In certain cases I might need help. In America, I could maybe call just two or three friends to help me. But in China, I could easily find thirty! That’s one of reasons that I like China,” Emma said.

And unlike many Americans, they save money. Emma says that her generation emphasizes saving money. Their modes of consuming are different compared to their fathers. One of the reasons is the heavy burden of repaying a student loan. After the age of eighteen, most Americans start living independently. The majority of college students take out loans in order to pay their tuition and fees. On average, it takes graduates fifteen years to pay off debt. Emma proudly says that Slater has already paid back half of his loan in just four years.


While her Chinese counterparts save money to buy their own homes, Emma says that many Americans her age don’t save money for a home.

“We are not willing to buy houses,” she says. “Consider my parents: They bought their large house on a bank loan. Now, the value of their house has slumped so much that it's below the sum of their loan.”

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斯莱特(Slater)和爱玛(Emma)这对美国夫妇已经在中国生活了4年了,职业都是英语老师。斯莱特身材瘦削、短发,性格安静但和蔼可亲,爱玛则健谈爱笑,两人着实称得上是性格互补。金发碧眼的爱玛看上去就和电影里那些标准的美国邻家女孩一样。

尽管爱玛去年才开始学习中文,但她的中文水平已有了惊人的提高。除去标准完美的发音,爱玛还掌握了差不多1000个汉字。她说自己发现提高中文口语的最好办法就是多和陌生人交谈,为此她常去广场和公园找人搭话。比方说,如果她看见一对祖孙,她就会先夸夸这个孩子多么可爱。她说,虽然中国人开始都会有点腼腆,但很好沟通。

相对爱玛来说,斯莱特会说的中文就很少了,但他对中国的习俗和文化包括人际交往那些不成文的礼节都更为了解。每当他们和中国人聊天的时候,都是斯莱特先解释给爱玛听,然后爱玛再给出相应的回应。

爱玛在大学念的是医学,斯莱特则是平面设计。由于经济不景气,斯莱特毕业后没找到合适的工作,只好去一间杂货店当了收银员,想想也知道这份工作对于这个受过高等教育的年轻人来说有多么无聊。因此,当他的一个朋友问他是否有兴趣来中国教书时,斯莱特立马就答应了。

在这个人生的十字路口,羞涩腼腆的斯莱特向爱玛求婚了:“嫁给我,这样我们就可以一起去中国了,你若不答应,我就只能自己去了!”爱玛很爽快地回答说:“好!”爱玛的母亲听说这件事后非常不高兴,但爱玛最终说服了她。“当我们长大了,父母就更像是我们的朋友,”爱玛回忆起这件事时感慨道。

尽管斯莱特和爱玛生在美国、长在美国,但他们给人的印象却不是典型的美国人形象。首先,他们都是素食主义者,非常喜欢中国的素菜,但对中国豆腐情有独钟。每次回到美国,他们都会念叨好想念豆腐的味道。

“我妈妈还没有尝过正宗的‘西安豆腐’,真是遗憾。”爱玛说。

他们还说,尽管回到美国要交到新朋友也很容易,但在中国这事更简单,而且朋友们还经常联系,不像在美国,朋友好多年不来往都是有可能的。

“拿我怀孕来说吧。有些时候我可能就需要帮助。在美国我可能也就能叫到两三个朋友,但在中国30个都不成问题!这也是我热爱中国的一个原因,”爱玛说。

另外斯莱特夫妇和其他美国人不一样的地方就是他们还会省钱。爱玛称她这代人都很崇尚省钱,他们和父母那辈人的消费观念已经截然不同了。一个原因就是他们背负着还助学贷款这一重负。大多数美国人在18岁成年的时候就开始独立生活了。大多数大学生都会贷款来支付学杂费。毕业生平均要花15年时间才能还清贷款,而斯莱特在毕业4年后就已经还掉了一半的贷款,爱玛很为此自豪。

看着中国同事们都在为买房勒紧裤腰带生活,爱玛说她这个年纪的许多美国人都不会省钱去买房。

“我们不想买房,”她说,“想想我的父母跟银行贷款买了一幢大房子,结果现在呢,房屋总价跌得甚至还不够贷款额了。”


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