Note that all foreign names are spelled with Chinese phonetics. If you know the real name please let us know!
I put down the phone, a little dazed.
Jia Yang was on the other end of the world,as I thought hard, I couldn’t conjure his image up.
I was currently in the College’s dormitory for exchange students; it was one person per room, each room had a bathroom and small electronic cookware
I had opened a bank account to receive the first month’s scholarship money, Montpellier didn’t sell Chinese phone cards, so I bought one, returning from Marseille. This was the first phone call I had given to him, and when we only said 10 sentences, Jia Yang said, that there were still documents that he had to look at, good bye.
The computer’s notification: Your talking time was 1 minute and 25 seconds.
I looked at this phone card in my hand that had a picture of a monkey drawn on it, I didn’t know how much more time I had to or who I would call.
It is now July. The weather is hot. Others took a break off, and the school gave us some heavy homework.
I registered for the Interpretation School so I am in a class, that is specialized in translating from French to Chinese. There aren’t many students, two Hong Kong classmates, three Taiwanese, two Belgium guys, four French, and me, the only Chinese mainland student, everyone already has a certain language foundation and experience, but have come here to receive training.
Every class, the teacher must put on a series of news broadcasts. It’ll be about 10 minutes long, and asks that we make notes, then we will begin to translate. This practice can be up to 15 minutes, 20 minutes. My notes have become less and less, and the content that I interpret has become more and more detailed.
In the second class in the morning, they introduce some French social life, to help us expand our vocabulary. I have memorized from “Fauvism art” to “Boomslang” from “Microelectronics” to “Dover French Doctrine”
Learning like this is very painful,to the point that my brains become juice and my eyes go black. But there are happy moments in the bitter moments.
The times in the afternoon are dominated by the students, the acquainted students make an appointment to go do their homework together in the library, and help each other correct their mistakes.
Sometimes we will go to buy fruit, swim in the ocean, talk a bit, some afternoons we will limit ourselves to only using one language, French, Chinese, and sometimes English.
Some mornings before class, Qiao Te, who is from Belgium will hold some newspapers and run over and say to us: “I said, yesterday I recognized that person on the beach, so it was Ronaldo.”
I look at the newspaper, on the Hua Bian newspaper headlines read: Baseball Star Ronaldo goes to the Beach Resort for his Break.
“Then why didn’t you say it then.” I said, “I could even have gotten an autograph.”
“Hello, I only saw a guy who had a beautiful maiden by his side, his head was pretty big, and between his front teeth there was a gap, I felt he was very familiar, but I couldn’t think of who it was.”
“Now that you think of it, it isn’t very newsworthy.” A French guy, Damian rebuffed him.
“This is my hindsight.” Qiao Te said in Chinese.
Rong Rong, from Hong Kong, played the violin extremely prettily, she worked part-time at the Theater Center bar, we would go occasionally to join her.
This group of young people who spoke Chinese aroused the interest of the boss. He proposed that we do a day for his bar that was just related to China, it was currently the tourist season, so we attracted many guests, and he shared the revenues with us 50/50.
We felt it would be very fun and agreed to him.
We used bamboo from China to decorate the bar, the Taiwanese girls knew calligraphy, and copied Tang poems onto the wall, just like the existing ancient colors; we bought some incense from the Chinese store, and thus it also had an ancient smell; the Western bar also supplied some Chinese wine and small desserts that had been ordered from a Chinese restaurant; we also invited a travelling Chiense artist, who made ink splashes at the scene.
After a week, it seemed that everything had been prepared, the boss said: “It seems we’re still missing something. Which of you can sing?”
Damian’s mouth spoke quickly: “I heard Qiao Fei sing while she washed the clothes, she sings very well.”
I didn’t have stagefright, but only wanted to do it well.
I downloaded the accompaniments of “Jasmine” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aZ_yOV1XMa8) and “Passing Years” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rDERjOerNHY) at the school internet cafe, and translated the lyrics into French. I stood in front of a mirror and practiced, I sang to the part that went “In this lifetime, we met each other in the gorge, we cannot be spared this unhappy end, our palms suddenly grow thin lines” and suddenly froze, and looked at my own palm. I had met another in the gorge before, but now we were far apart?
On the day of the Chinese activities, the bar was packed, there was a warm atmosphere. In the end, everyone used Chinese to say, “Hello, thank you, Happy New Year” or even “I raise my eyes to the moon, looking down and think of home”
On this night, I also met an old friend, Aude Ferland, who had already returned to her country. She ran over from afar to hug me, and kissed my face: “Qiao Fei, do you still remember me?”
I also hugged her: “How could I forget? It was you who taught me how to smoke well.”
“Ah you’ve finally come to Montpellier. Are you living happily?”
“Really well. Thanks, thanks.”
Aude, who had learned Chinese thoroughly by now, was currently responsible for liaisons with the sister city Chengdu at the City Hall Office of International Affairs. She left me her home address and phone number and told me: “Qiao Fei when you have time you must come find me.”
This was more of a benefit to having friends, the ends of the earth were unexpectedly warm.
On this day, based on my end of the course, 20 points was the maximum for both classes’ homework, the teacher gave me a 16. I called a neighbor and asked the aunt to tell my mom and dad. As for the scores, they didn’t know much about it, so I said, very simple, I had gotten first in the class. Such great news, who else would I tell? I called Cheng Jia Yang’s cell phone, and was redirected to the secretary’s desk.
Thus, I called Aude again, and asked if I could stay at her house over the weekend.
She said: “Of course, of course, if you are a good person’s life, then you must come.”
Aude’s family was in an old neighborhood in Montpellier.
Quartzite road, white brick walls, old buildings surrounded by palm trees.
Step by step I walked into the wet narrow streets, and imagined how many wooden cars had once passed through here, sending bright tasting grape wine; how many people had once passed through here, lonelily walking their own history.
Such a warm feeling did not suit me, this idiot. As I walked, I found that I couldn’t see any street names, I couldn’t see any people, and I also didn’t know if this was the street I was looking for.
It was about nighttime now, now far away, there were some small shops’ bright signs, I wanted to ask about the route, I walked closer, it was a pizzeria shop
Behind the counter was a young guy, who grabbed a new pizza from the oven. That pizza was baked perfectly, with thick cheese, fresh tomatoes, crisp mushrooms. The guy was very satisfied and cut the pizza into a few chunks with deft movements, he turned to put it in the window. At this moment, he saw me.
I felt I had seen this person before, but I didn’t think that he would be here.
A young face, black hair and black eyes: “Miss, a freshly baked pizza, would you like to try it?”
“I would like to ask you the way to here.”
Before I could finish, someone came out from the counter, it was my friend Aude.
“Fei, I am waiting for you. Have you found it yourself? That’s really amazing. Come in quickly.”
Aude said to the guy: “This is my Chinese friend, Qiao Fei.”
She said to me again: “Fei, this is my little brother, Zu Zu.”
The world was really small, so I thought of it in an instant, where I met this guy before. At the same time I heard him say: “Right, we met before, in Paris.”