This weekend my friend Thao wanted to go to the library to check out some picture books for her class, and I said I'd tag along. Children's books are the best! The cute stories, the illustrations...they're just so good and heartwarming. One of my favorite things to do is read to my kids and watch them get excited about the pictures and make them guess what will happen next. So of course I was down for a trip to the library! It was going to be so much fun.
Me and Thao. For like 3 months we ended up wearing the same thing every time we saw each other. We look alike right? ;)
The English library is part of this giant English center that's made up of a bunch of buildings. So naturally it took us a while to figure out exactly where the library was - on the 5th floor of course. Wouldn't want to make it easy to check out those books. We make our way up there and the lady tells us Thao has to register for a library card. She points to a computer and we figured out she had to put in her name and ARC number. It didn't work. So she tried again, and it didn't work again. So an employee came over and tried a few times, and it still didn't work. So another employee came over and asked to see Thao's ARC card and then she and I realized she probably had to write her entire name, not just first and last. That did the trick! One problem solved.
Then we browsed. We found so many good books, including one about an egg who wants to fly and ends up as breakfast. It's called Egg Drop. Clever right? I love children's books! Almost all the kiddos said hello as they walked past us, and I'm pretty sure one mom took a picture of the 2 us looking through books. I wonder what she's planning on doing with that - adding it to the family scrapbook? When Thao narrowed her choices down we went to go check them out.
The guy at the check out counter was the first employee who had tried to help us with the library card. They have this ATM-type machine that does it all for you. First you have to scan the barcode on your card, which took us probably 4 times to get right. Then a little video shows you that you have to put the books on this scale-type thing with the spine out. First Thao put the books on the wrong way, and then the machine timed out and we had to start over. The third time it worked, and you guys, it was like magic. The books just sit on the scale and nothing scans them but somehow the machine knows how many you have and what the titles are. I was genuinely amazed. I think the guy thought I was crazy.
We were finally done and decided to get coffee at the English cafe. We had tried to go pre-library but there was nobody there to make us our drinks. We enjoyed our caramel macchiatos and had a nice little chat and when it was time to go Thao said, "Where's my umbrella?" Back at the library of course. I'm sure they'll be happy to see us again. So we trudged back up to the 5th floor and retrieved the umbrella and left laughing at the nonsense that was the past few hours. Who would have thought we would have so many problems trying to get a few picture books? At an English library no less? Thao turned to me and said "You should blog about this."
The moral of the story is this: sometimes things are hard because you're a foreigner, and sometimes things are hard because you're just being dumb. But no matter what you end up with a funny story.