Playing Muggins in China

The last minute my mom packed Muggins cards: I am so glad! People from different languages can play Muggins because you only need one word: Muggins! One day some of Morielle’s sophomores came over to visit us. They speak Uyghur with their families; they speak Chinese at the University; they are learning English.

Chatting with them in English was not going very well: too many questions, too many words, too fast.  Muggins was perfect! No explaining, we just started playing, `Mugginsing’ and laughing.

I did not pay attention because I was watching new friends. When my Mom or Morielle would say, `be careful, Mathalia,’  I was completely distracted. More friends came; they tried to help me but I was hopeless—too much fun to play my cards. I like to play out all my cards at the end but this time, I left them in a pile in order to eat homemade dumplings!

The next time we played Muggins we were on the train: we had said `goodbye’ to ZayNur and Morielle’s apartment. Twenty-one hours hard-seat on the train to Urumqi!! I was excited! My mom was worried. I don’t know why but she was definitely worried!

We found our seats and started to pass the time: we took pictures of our bench friends; they took pictures of us and put them on QQ (Chinese Facebook); we listened to a luggage argument. Even though I don’t know Chinese,  I knew it was not a discussion; it was an argument. Then we watched the cute little boy make his parents crazy: his dad took him back and forth to the bathroom; still he kept peeing on the floor. My mom did not see this! But I saw it; and I saw the hole in his pants. Morielle received a mysterious ghost text: I see you on the train.  Yikes!! Who is this?!  A stalker?  No! It was Wangxiao, a student, from her University. He was on our train and in our compartment!

Chatting with him and the train drama took 2 hours. Now what?  Muggins! While we went to the bathroom, my dad pulled down the suitcases and found the cards.

Lots of people watching the foreigners but no one wanted to play. Finally two girls joined us. We had to hold our cards in our hands because the table was too small. All the people watching helped me play my cards right; even my friend next to me helped me.  Finally it was down to me and my new friend. She won. I had so much fun!

We ate a train supper from the cart going up and down the aisle: two suppers for the four of us plus snacks from the bag. Then my mom, `Let’s see if the nice Uyghur family wants to play Muggins.’ We taught them how to play Muggins by using only one word: Muggins! Even with everyone helping me, I was still the last one out.

After that it was time for bed. No problem for me: I can sleep anywhere. In the morning we played Muggins one more time with Wangxiao. He liked Muggins so much that we gave him the cards. He taught over 100 people how to play Muggins during his Chinese New Year vacation!  That’s crazy!

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