Chinese teacher Chris Godas shares his love for language, comedy, drawing and more
Though he’s a Midwesterner by birth (hailing from Missouri), Godas has visited five other countries worldwide- Canada, China, Greece, Serbia and Thailand. The passion for language that he discovered brought him to China where he taught English at a high school, and for the past year he’s been teaching Chinese. When Godas isn’t exploring the globe, he enjoys the simpler things in life- good food, funny videos and expressing his creative side through painting.
Godas: Hi my name is Chris Godas. My Chinese name is Gao da and I am from Missouri. I am a Chinese major and I have taught English at an International School in China. In the U.S., I have been a Chinese teacher for about a year.
Elle: Outside of teaching, what are some of your hobbies?
Godas: Outside of work, I enjoy drawing, being on social media like Youtube, Instagram and Tumblr and telling jokes. I also watch a lot of international movies as well. I use these movies to learn and practice foreign languages like Greek and Indonesian.
Elle: What is your favorite joke?
Godas: I childproofed the house but they keep getting in. I like old jokes like these.
Elle: What do you follow on social media?
Godas: On social media, I usually enjoy watching funny things or vlogs. Additionally, I like the videos and posts on lifestyle tips and tricks. For example, minimalism, finance and a lot of people also emphasize recycling and environmentalism. Many of the videos I watch are also about the lifestyles that I personally don’t practice or don’t understand too much about.
Elle: You also said that you really enjoy drawing. Do you draw Chinese-styled drawings or more typically American styles?
Godas: I personally like drawing portraits, emotions and headshots. I don’t really like drawing objects but I like having people as my subject. I would also say that my drawing style is more Western and not the ancient Chinese style.
Elle: Do you enjoy traveling?
Godas: Yes, I absolutely love traveling. I’ve been to six countries total including America, Canada, China, Greece, Serbia and Thailand. I’ve been to China for the longest amount of time (and most frequently), a total of three years. I studied there for three semesters in college and I also taught high school for a year there. I went to China for the first time when I was a sophomore (19) in college.
Elle: When did you realize that you were interested in languages and learning Chinese?
Godas: It was around my freshman year of college when I traveled to Greece (where my father is from) to learn Greek. There I realized that I was actually pretty good at picking up foreign languages.
Elle: In China, what was your favorite food?
Godas: My favorite food was probably Malaxiangguo (Spicy Numbing Stir-fry pot). It’s really good when it’s mildly spicy. I usually add kuan fen (a type of thick, flat glass noodles), eggs, an quan dan (quail eggs), a lot of broccoli and potato slices. I also add a lot of beef and pork but my favorite is for sure lamb. Lamb skewers are also really good.
Elle: You also mentioned that you like watching movies. What genre is your favorite?
Godas: I like comedy the most. Even if they are from different countries and languages, I will watch them as long as the content is good and there are subtitles.
Elle: Do you have any recommendations?
Godas: I would recommend Juno from 2007. It’s about a high schooler who gets pregnant and it’s a really moving film.
Elle: Do you have a bucket list for things you want to do in life?
Godas: I think I wrote one in high school but I haven’t opened it since then. But overall, I think my bucket list items are just to travel more and trying different lifestyles while also learning about the perspectives of different people with different backgrounds in life.