Today in my TOEFL class, which consists of five young women, we had a conversation about the topic, "What do you want to buy in the future," as per one of the lessons in their book. It went something like this:
"What do you want to buy in the future?" I asked the one Korean girl.
"Uhh…lots of things. Prada bags, Gucci bags, Birkin bags…" she searched for the brand name. Another girl tipped her off and the list started up again. "Hermés. Scarves, sunglasses…"
"Does your mom have these things?" I asked.
"Chanel bags, Burberry bags…"
"Wow," said one student.
"What about you," I asked, turning to the next girl. "What do you want to buy?"
"I want to buy a building," she said, to turn into a dog shelter.
"And what about you, Melanie?"
"Makeup," chimed in her classmate.
Another pause, and then a conceding nod. "And perfume."
The next girl: "I want a big house. And lots of fancy things, like she said," waving back to the Korean girl. "But I think if I major in luxury marketing…maybe I won’t have to buy them."
I put the question to our last girl. "The future…" she started, sounding overwhelmed. "Umm…I really don’t know."
"Maybe your university education?" I suggested.
"Ah, yes!" she laughed.
* It should be noted that all of these girls are really nice and surprisingly none of them bear even a passing resemblance to Kim Kardashian. The one who said her most anticipated future purchase is perfume wants to major in astronomy and physics. The one who wants to have a fancy house…well, she does indeed want to be a marketing major, but more power to women in the workforce, I say. The Korean girl I don’t know that well, but in the girl’s defense she’s told us before that her mother sometimes doesn’t want to be seen with her if she’s not dressed well enough. Welcome to China!