Putting yourself out there

Something I’ve never really been good at is putting myself out there. Especially in the context of my Chinese language skills. Except for while I was in China, and had to do it, I’ve never really been able to be that person who can start up a conversation in Chinese with the waiter at a Chinese restaurant, or even try to order in Chinese. Even when I know how to say the words, I get scared that I’ll do it wrong, or that I’ll start trying to talk to someone, and they’ll be like “Dude… I’m from Oklahoma, what makes you think I can speak Chinese”.

This semester I actually did make an effort to put myself out there a little more. I actually ordered some bubble tea in Chinese, and it wasn’t hard. It even sparked a conversation between myself and the guy working at the shop, because I’m sure they don’t encounter very many non-Chinese people who can speak Chinese. I know most of the people I’m studying Chinese with have been doing this since they first started, so it’s not really impressive in any way, but I’m really proud that I’m at least making progress.

I also put myself out there a little bit and went to a Chinese New Year event that wasn’t put on by CLC. Or I guess I should say I tried to go. There were performances and dumplings hosted by the Asian student association. When I showed up to the event, there was a line out the door, and it seemed like just about every person in Norman with any connection whatsoever to China was there. I said earlier that I tried to go, because when I got to the front of the line, it was for a raffle, not food or tickets to the performances. I tried to find the correct line for a bit, until I eventually admitted defeat and just went to campus corner. It definitely was disappointing not to actually go to the event, but I am determined to be more determined next year, and not get scared and back out.

Overall, it’s still really hard to put yourself out there. Some people are just good at it, but I am not one of those people. I know it’s theoretically not that hard. Just talk to someone, or ask someone where the correct line is, or say the same order in a restaurant that you ordered a million times at restaurants in China. But it’s still really hard for me to actually do those things. I’m proud that I at least tried, but definitely want to keep improving.

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