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First Impressions: An Ox’s Reflections

Alu (my host dad): Abu really wanted this guy! I was expecting more of an ox, if you know what I mean, but I guess he will do. I can’t wait to put this 外国人 (foreigner) to good use. We’re opening up our house but in return we expect some good fieldwork!

Abu (my host sister): I totally took a risky leap of faith with this, but I think that he looks like a good walnut picker and smasher!  His Chinese is terrible but I guess the saying then holds true: if they can’t speak, they can’t complain 🙂

While picking walnuts

Abu: Wow! This kid does move like an ox! He fell down a little rock avalanche like a clumsy Tibetan baboon. Let’s give him this giant field of walnuts to pick as a first test.

After picking walnuts

Abu: Hmmm….so he’s a little slow but his pronunciation of easy Chinese words makes me laugh. Let’s give him some walnuts as a reward.

Back home

Dog: Woof! Who is this intruder who smells of baby powder paste, toothpicks, and old bucket hats! Intruder! Intruder!

Alu: I have this horde of cowboy hats and American bows! I finally have an American who can be blown away! Let me give him this cowboy hat. It’ll be a nice gesture, he’ll look less like a farm animal, and this should increase his efficiency in the field!

While helping in the fields

Abu: Ok, so this 外国人(foreigner) is more than just a worker. He seems to be making an attempt at communicating with me. Maybe we can make this work and incorporate him into the family, but first let me sneakily take a video of him and show the entire family! He’s just sooooo funny and his little cowboy hat Alu gave him.

Alu: Ha ha ha ha, let’s put this poor kid’s poor Chinese to good use 🙂 Maybe it’s not a bad thing he can’t speak Tibetan. I’ll tell him to call me Alo which means little brother. Oh man, I feel young again! He’s so gullible but he’s a good listener and it seems like his intentions are good.

Pigs: Oink, pink whose this——food!! He’s carrying food! I love him so much!

Pig that family is fattening up: (in eeyore voice) hmmmm…I’m so full. Why do they love me so much and give me so much food!? But I must eat! Must eat!

Alu: 明浩杰 (Michal’s Chinese name) helped me a lot today with making a bow and he seems fascinated by my massive bows. I’ll show him a thing or two! I’ll take him to shoot my bow! He’s really trying his best to help, and maybe he’s not only a work ox after all 🙂

After shooting and losing an arrow in the trees

Alu: What was I thinking?! How could I let a foreigner shoot my bow, better yet, one who has never shot before?! He shot the arrow into the trees and up the mountain! He did apologize 10 times so he didn’t mean any harm, but still, I better be more careful with him and my bow. On Saturday when we go shooting, he isn’t coming anywhere near my bow and arrows!

Alu and Abu: Well it’s almost time for bed and another day of hard work has come to a close. 明浩杰wasn’t what we expected. He’s clumsy and can barely communicate but his cute baby mustache and mannerisms make us laugh and maybe, just maybe, we did a good thing by welcoming a foreigner. Let’s stay open, join his monkey like charade movements, and go shoot some more arrows (this time hopefully not into a tree) 🙂


Photo credit first photo (IMG_1254.JPG): Mark Lumley