So the subway in New York has the following warning on the escalators: ‘attend your children, hold your child’
Every time they get on the subway escalator, Davey takes Jack’s hand. Jack thinks it’s cute and always squeezes Davey’s hand back. But the real reason Davey does it is because he figures if you can’t trust kids on escalators then you can’t trust Jack on them either…
So this is probably the best story to come out of my trip and it’s a little more unbelievable than the others, so it gets it’s own post.
Background: I’m a teacher in a school with a Mandarin Immersion Program and we’re sister schools with this school in China. I’m teaching there for two weeks. While there, the families of our students take us out once a week. (The families fight over us and everything I hear.) Most of the time these families take the westerners out to experience traditional Chinese culture and invite them into their homes. Most teachers went to shrines, museums, or teahouses. It’s really neat and I was hoping to see some of the same.
Things did not turn out that way.
I go with a young boy in my class and his mother to the museum where we meet six other students. All the teachers start their trip at the museum and I did it with seven teenagers and one mother. It was nice, but we went through it so fast when my student asks me if I’m afraid of ghosts. The next place they’re taking me to is a haunted house. (FYI we’re in the city, I haven’t seen a house in days.) He asks me if I’m scared of ghosts and I play it off like, ‘well, maybe a little, haha.’ Next thing I know, five of the seven kids and I are getting into a taxi and we’re leaving the adult to go to a haunted house.
No one tells me much of anything because of the language barrier and I’m semi freaking out about being separated from the adult and becoming The Adult when I don’t speak the language or know anything about anything. 0.0 These kids take me to the corner of a street and then we’re going down into an abandoned, derelict subway station with broken escalators and ceiling panels missing to reveal exposed wires and super sketch underground elements you would expect in such a place. (Why couldn’t this be a teahouse?) It’s an abandoned subway that looks as sketch as sketch can be, when all of a sudden we turn a corner and there’s a nicely lit arcade? And a place for drinks, and kids playing Jenga????
We go into this place that’s neat and clean and chill looking called Ghost School and the kids are ready to go through the haunted house after buying bands. There are three girls, one boy student, and me. I am the adult. I do not speak Chinese. I can say a few phrases and that’s it. They take forever to get tickets and the first time they try to go into the house two of the girls freak the heck out and run out to buy extra ghost protection badges that keep the actors/ghosts from touching them.
Over the next five to eight to maybe ten minutes we make a couple more attempts into the house and the two girls are really scared, and eventually the third girl and boy student get too freaked out and refuse to go in. I’m trying to encourage them and help them get through it, but there is no helping these kids who are scared out of their minds from a cheep knock off FNF jump scare haunted house. They refuse to go in and then I ask if I can try it by myself. They’re super afraid for me and at this point no haunted house can scare me because I’m The Adult in this situation that doesn’t know what the F is going on or what is going to happen next or what people are saying. Ghosts are nothing compared to my cleverly concealed anxiety.
The haunted house is a cakewalk. People come up say creepy things in Chinese to me and I congratulate them with thumbs up and encourage them to keep trying their best, all the while smiling. These people did not know what to do with me. I did not flinch once. Dead bodies jump scares, screaming people chasing me down the halls…ha, I pay taxes, you can’t scare me with those things! The branches in the cemetery pulled out my hair and I had to crawl through a well and a tunnel in a dress, but it was fun and I liked it. Didn’t get scared though.
I walk out, long hair a mess, looking every bit the part of a mad grinning westerner in China; I was the scary one. I meet the students put up my hair and they’re so star-struck at this point. “Teacher, you’re so cool.” They get me this card that proves I made it through and all take pictures with it. We walk around, have dinner, I go back to the hotel and the next morning all the teacher are sharing their stories from tea houses and shrines and showing pictures and then there’s me.
‘Oh, these teenagers took me to an abandoned subway’s haunted house. No big deal.’