August 4, 2010
The purpose of the C1 speech is for “ice breaking”, so I would like to share my story about “ice breaking”.
When I graduated from college, my first job was in Taipei. So I had to travel between Taipei and Kaohsiung by bus frequently. It took roughly 5-6 hours one way. During this long trip, sometimes I was bored and felt like chatting with somebody. But striking up a conversation with a total stranger always made me feel awkward, so I never tried. Just read or took a nap all the way.
One day I read an article about two strangers who encountered each other on the train and developed a moving friendship. I always loved such warm stories and I wanted that to happen to me as well.
Few months later, it was time to go home again. When I got on the bus, I came up with an idea： I’ve got to do it today! No matter who sat beside me, I made up my mind to talk to him/her. A gentleman sat next to me before the bus started. Since the journey just began, why not relax first so that I could make a perfect plan? After a while, as I was trying to chat with him, he began eating. I thought it was impolite to disturb him so I kept waiting. Then, he seemed tired. Apparently, it was not the right time. I hesitated again and again, but I knew I must take a chance. After a while, he took out a book. Yes, books are always good topics. So I took a deep breath, opened my mouth and~ I shut up my mouth, looked outside the window, and pretended nothing happened. The title of his book was Leave Me Alone!
Is this the end of my story? Fortunately not. In 2007 I traveled alone from 上海 to 周庄. The passenger next to me was a Western lady. When we arrived at the destination, the bus driver announced some important information only in Chinese. The lady looked confused and worried. I knew how she felt because I had the same experience when I traveled in Europe so I translated for her. And naturally, we started a conversation. She told me that she was a zoologist from Italy and shared her unforgettable experiences in China. Such as how she was shocked when she faced various kinds of animals for dinner in Mongolia, and in Beijing, almost every taxi driver asked her if she would like to go to the Temple of Heaven, because that seemed to be the only English they could speak. We both enjoyed the chatting very much. Eventually, I accomplished my mission.