This story didn’t quite go to plan. I didn’t get the reactions I was expecting. I underestimated the awkwardness of the subject. The self-deprecating parts elicited pity, when I had been going for laughter. My mind blanked and I fumbled in quite a few important places. There was applause in a part that I totally wasn’t expecting. I even had a heckle (which, to make matters worse, was entirely justified).
But I’m still happy that I did it. And I’m sharing it in case it’s a story someone out there needs to hear this Christmas.
Thanks go to Clara and the team at Unravel Shanghai, for the amazing community they have built around their monthly storytelling series. Thanks to Lisa, Fred, Shaun, and all the friends (and strangers) in the audience. And thanks to Denny, to Jennifer, and to my family for all their love and support.
The was easily one of the most nerve-wracking evenings of my life. But I’m glad that these stories are now preserved somewhere in the ether.
Notes and corrections:
1) Despite what you may think you hear, there are no rude words in this video. All the same, it’s probably not suitable for work or kids.
2) The first time I use the word ‘Homogeneous’, I meant to say the opposite word ‘Diverse’. Whoops.
3) I know, I know, Hungarians aren’t Slavs.
4) Kabanos is a Polish pork sausage.
5) #JáTaké is Czech for #MeToo.
6) 風穴先生 (Kazaana-Sensei) actually spoke great English. I used her to represent how the students sounded.
7) I mistakenly inserted the caption ‘Unraveled’, but the storytelling series is actually called ‘Unravel’. See www.unravellive.com.
Like any other normal person, when I have a spare 45 minutes, I like to research how my name is written in various world alphabets, and then list them roughly in order from West to East according to a representative country where they’re written.