Saturday, January 16, 2016

conversation with an 8-year-old

“I have violin class after this.”

The 8-year-old girl (maybe 7 because it’s just January) who had inexplicably chosen to sit next to me instead of all her other classmates on the excursion bus suddenly piped up.

She and the rest of her friends had just finished 90 minutes at the pool as part of the school’s swimming programme and the bus was taking us – pupils, teachers and parent volunteers - back to school.

Small, fair and slightly pudgy with still-chubby fingers clutching a red waterproof bag, she had a fringe and ponytail and black-framed specs, but what I noticed was her name tag. She had a lofty three-syllable name which would fit right into a Shakespearan play.

I was entranced. Seldom do you get chatted up by cute little girls who, as a general rule, avoid talking to adults.

“So you have violin class?” I asked.

“Yes I do,” she carefully articulated while looking up at me straight in the eye. Her head was somewhere around my shoulder level.

“Do you like it?”

“Not really. I prefer piano.”

“Oh, you do piano too?”

“Yes. I like piano. I take part in competitions.”

“Oh! Who’s your teacher?”

“Erm. It’s XXX. He’s very famous.” (I start. He IS very famous with a  menu of decorated students and I happen to hear from a student that he charges $150 per lesson)

“Well what are you playing now?”

“I do scales and sight-reading. I’m now playing the Spinning Song.”

“Ah! The one which goes (I hum it).”

“Yes!” (she starts. She must have wondered how I knew it. It so happens it was my first recital piece) “I also take part in competitions. I try to practise every day, but sometimes I don’t.”

“Oh I see. Good luck for your competition. Aren’t you tired, to have violin class right after swimming?”

“Sometimes. Let me see… my only free day is Wednesday and Sunday when I go to church. I have art on Mondays, swimming and violin on Tuesdays, Wednesday I’m free, piano on Thursdays, English on Friday, ballet on Saturday, and church on Sunday. Oh wait, I do tennis on Sunday too!”

“Wow! You’re very busy.”

“I do ballet just for fun. My parents just want me to do it for fun, not for exams or anything.”

“Then what do you do on Wednesdays?”

“I watch TV sometimes. My favourite is Takeshi’s Castle. (she pronounces Ca as Care, like an American would) Or I read books. I’ve heard about Roald Dahl, but I haven’t tried it yet.”

“Do you have Chinese classes then?”

“What do you mean?”

“Like Chinese tuition?”

“No. My parents are from China.”

“Oh! 们是从中国的那一部分?” (pardon my Chinese)

上海.”

“你喜欢回去吗?”

“喜欢!我住在我表哥的家。”

(we continue to talk all the way back to school)

Colour me impressed. Busy lifestyle notwithstanding, she’s remarkably composed, articulate, bilingual, smart and very likeable.

3 comments:

Karmeleon said...

Envious! About the articulate and confident child! Same age as our youngest, eh?

Sher said...

yes! same age, and so engaging. not in the least bit shy or stand-offish. we had a conversation, man.

Karmeleon said...

and mine just fell asleep just BEFORE and AFTER violin lesson. Let me put up that photo on my blog. HAHAH - not so energetic like that girl. LOL