Thursday, September 11, 2008

Framed

Toward the end of last year, I picked up a paper cut while in Beijing of one of my favorite passages. Last week I headed out with one of my Chinese tutors to find a place to frame it. All I wanted was a simple black frame. Simple is not always something excelled in by the Chinese, especially when it comes to home decor. After visiting three shops, I found a frame sample that was fairly simple for a price I was willing to pay. The shopkeeper informed us it would be ready on Sunday. I dutifully returned on Sunday, to be told (not surprisingly) that it was not ready, but would surely be ready tomorrow. I waited to return until today (Thursday) to assure its completion. The shopkeeper saw me walk in and hurried to get the finished product. He proudly held it up for my inspection and proceeded to explain that he thought the frame I chose wasn't very beautiful and didn't really go well with the paper cut, so he chose another frame. Additionally, the plain off white backing I had for the cut out was deemed unattractive. Instead, he chose a backing that looks a little bit like cork board. "Now doesn't that look great?" he asked me, beaming with pride. I was a little lost at what was culturally appropriate to say at the moment, especially since he was the "expert" in framing pictures. I knew I didn't have the language skills to delicately and indirectly explain that while his work was indeed lovely, there was a reason I chose the frame I did. Instead, I smiled, said thank you and headed home. Just another day in China.

2 comments:

Lily Makes 3 said...

Oh please tell us what it says :)

RJV said...

I expected something uglier...