After three days in the classroom I am beginning to get the hang of using a translator. Of course, I wouldn't even be able to communicate without them, but remembering to pause is a challenge. Being so used to immediate comprehension, the slower process of sharing information changes the rhythm of the room. We wait for one another to speak. We wait for the translator to think of the best words to convey our meaning. And we wait for the recipient's delayed reaction. All of this waiting extends our conversations so that one sentence last several minutes, making succinct and precise words essential. At least in all the pausing and waiting, I have time to choose those words carefully.

Impatient to communicate without a translator, the students and I have settled into alternative and rudimentary forms of communication. I sometimes burst out with a version of art charades. Though it might not be the most precise, it seems to work or at least entertain ourselves. The students, on the other hand, have tried to improve my Chinese as we repeat words back and forth. Usually these words are the basic greetings, or random objects. By the end of my stay, I'm happy to report that, if nothing else, I shall be proficient in saying "thank you" and "your welcome!"

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