When you live in another country in which you can’t speak or read the language, everyday you deal with little mysteries that need to be solved. Take for instance the case of the missing key.
I ride my bike to class everyday, and I have a nifty little bike lock that is actually attached to the wheel. I never have to worry about forgetting the lock because it is screwed directly on the frame of my back tire. All I have to do is put the bar through the tire, attach it to the base, and remove the key. Easy enough, right?
Well, to be honest I have forgotten to remove the key on more that one occasion. It’s usually fine, the bike is so old and rusty only the most desperate would try to steal it, and every time I have forgotten to remove the key, it has always been there when I have gotten back.
Until yesterday. Instead of the key sticking out of the lock, I found the key missing and a note folded and tucked into the back of my bike. I looked at the note, hoping to find a quick answer to my dilemma, but all I say were 8 Chinese characters scrawled on the page.
The first step in solving this mystery was to use the tools at my disposal. The easiest would be to find a student and have them translate it. But I looked around and saw no one, class was still in session, so I needed to find another answer.
I took out my little Chinese/English dictionary to see if I could decipher any of it. The problem is, of course, that I didn’t know what it said, so I couldn’t actually look up anything. But I figured the word key was in it, so I looked that up, and sure enough key was written on the note.
But that is as far as I got. Did it say, Your key is at the security desk? Did it say I will return your key at 2 o’clock? Did it say, Ha, ha, I stole your key and you will never see it again? I had no idea!
I was out of options and I needed help. I tried my best but this was one mystery that would remain unsolved if I didn’t get help. After all Sherlock had Watson.
So I went back into the classroom building and hung around outside of a room where a fellow English teacher was working. Class was almost out, and in minutes I had a teacher and 30 possible students to help me. Sure enough, it took them just a moment, and the mystery was solved. On the note was written 9 words, “The bike lock is in the front basket.”