Thursday, December 09, 2004

Moment #129. Chinese at buffet. Dec 9, 2004.

12/9/2004. There's an upscale Chinese buffet restaurant on the East side. The dinner price was $8.99 plus $1.00 for a beverage, but with the variety, including really nice seafood, it was worth it. Good salad and fruit bar, fresh sushi, excellent measts, Mongolian grill (make your own stir fry), and just all around excellent food and friendly service.

I took in a small carrying case containing 2 Traditional Chinese, 2 Simplified Chinese, and 2 English copies of the Book of Mormon. When I was almost finished eating, I asked my waitress if she spoke Chinese. She said yes. I tried to determine where she was from and which version of Chinese she read. She indicated the Simplified Chinese version. I tried to give her a pair of books, but we couldn't communicate, so she brought over her supervisor who was conversant in English.

I explained to the supervisor that the books were the same, just differnet languages. I opened both books to 1 Nephi 1:1, pointed to the verse in the Chinese version for the waitress, and read the English. The supervsior seemed to catch the idea of using them as ESL, but not the waitress. I offered the books to both of them, but only the supervisor accepted them. She was very gracious, and it occurred to me that she may have accepted them merely for customer relations. However, a couple minutes later the supervisor came back with another waitress and asked if this waitress could have a pair too.

That's at least the third time another employee in a Chinese restaurant came over and asked for books after seeing what another employee had received.

I asked the supervisor what languages the other people spoke, thinking there may have been other Asian languages represented among the employees, but she said just Spanish.

After paying, I went out to my car, and brought back in another Chinese/English pair, and a Spanish/English pair, which the hostess accepted. There were enough other Chinese-speakers so I'm sure someone else would catch the vision of using them for ESL study.

I need to remember to take in bigger cases and more books if it's a larger restaurant. I also forgot the bilingual Chinese/English New Testaments that I had in the car.

I'm going to try to make the approach more towards the beginning of the meal, so employees can pass along word of the books before I leave. Having a dinner companion works better too, as one can go back to the car and get more books without it looking like you are skipping out on the tab.

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