Vincent Van Gogh

On Sunday mornings I wake up at 6:45, trudge to the subway, ride it to chifeng lu (fight to avoid falling asleep and missing my stop) and then take a taxi from the train to New Oriental English School to teach 13 Chinese students English for 4 hours.
2 weeks ago, two new students joined my class. One of them was a man named Tany, and the other a girl named Vincent. (Yes, Vincent, Yes, a girl.) It takes some training but after being here for a certain amount of time, you learn to believe your ears. At this point I started to wish that the night before I had not printed out 13 copies of the lyrics to the Johnny Cash song "A boy named Sue." Unfortunately that was not the case.

We sang, we cursed, we laughed, all in oblivion and fortunately for me, Vincent thing never came up.

The next week in class, we practiced casual conversations (the kind you would have with some one you meet for the first time). As the class practiced with each other, I made my way to the back of the class to find out a little bit more about Vincent. At this point, I couldn't tell if she was really young or really old... odd yes, but sometimes that happens. So I went up to her and prompted a "mock" casual conversation. I extended my hand "Hi, my name is Taylor, what is your name?" She replied "Vincent, nice to meet you..." She then told me that she was a high school student, age 17 and even though she is by far the youngest in the class, her English is one of the best. Something about Vincent was very intriguing, so I prompted some more questions. Here is our dialogue that followed.
T:What do you like to do on your free time.
T:No I meant on your free time, you know, when you are not in school.
V:Yes, I like very much experiments.
T: ok...(sketch) what kind of experiments. I am not sure I understand...
V: biological.
T: ok...well do you do these experiments at home...at school...? (I was thinking along the lines of creepy crawler and easy bake ovens...but then she replied).
v: I go to America in May for my experiment.
T: oh really! That is exciting. But I still don't understand. What kind of experiments do you do?
And then she rambled off some obviously rehearsed description that went something like : polypeptide...cell cluster...sacchride...those were the only words I could pick out and remember . But it was INTENSE and I was even more intrigued... I end up finding out that after taking a biology class when she was 14, she had an idea for a project and started working on it, then a Shanghai medical university took interest, and she has continued her work there for the past few years. "professors find my work very interesting" she told me. ANd apparently she is going to some International Biology convention in America to show her work.
I realize at this point that I definitely have some sort of child prodigy on my hands. She is hilarious, nerdy and quirky. So I asked her how she got her English name. And she replied..."oh...you know...painter...Vincent Van Gogh".

Before the end of last week's I asked everyone what they would like to cover this week (it is the last class). The class was silent, but I noticed Vincent in her hot pink winter coat fidgeting a bit in the back. I call on her. She answered in three words. "rock and roll".

if only I could be so cool.

Vincent is a 17 year old girl going to Albuquerque in May to do biology. And I know that people in the west can be pretty harsh about things like that, especially if they don't understand at all where you are coming from. I don't want her to be made fun of, but I also don't want to make her self conscious. Fortunately I have a pretty good "shoe in" to the conversation because of my own name, which definitely "walks the line". So tomorrow I think, after we rock and then roll, Vincent and I are going to have a little talk.

1 comment:

thedaveed said...

Send this chick my digits... actually tell her to call me in a year, once she's 18.

Rock 'n' roll ain't noise pollution
Rock 'n' roll ain't gonna die
Rock 'n' roll ain't noise pollution
Rock 'n' roll it will survive

taylor levy. taylor levy. taylor levy. taylor levy. taylor levy. possible design object. possible design object. possible design object. itp. itp. itp. itp.