I felt like Trump. Him speaking to an audience – like a hero.
I am talking about the first time ordering food in Chinese. Due to the big lack of English language among Chinese people, we (Annette and myself) are now best trained in non-verbal communication. Most Chinese people cannot even read Chinese characters, so even asking for directions is an act.
Since I had an 8-week online Chinese course and now Chinese classes three times a week, I am starting now to understand more and more. Even reading Chinese characters in the streets is possible. Useful in restaurants while ordering food. You want to know if you order donkey or chicken.
You like personal space? Leave it behind. Prepare to get in touch with many people, whether you like it or not. As a blonde girl, I had to take so many pictures with Chinese people. I even got babies to hold for camera. On every sightseeing trip we went to, we were more exciting for chinese tourists than the sights (there are that many chinese sightseeing groups than in other countries). Going by subway, whole China tries to fit in one.
Talking about getting in touch with people, it is an important thing to connect as much as you can. Coming here, we went to print out our own Visit Cards to hand them out. If you have a nice conversation with Chinese, you will get a Card. This is seen as the common way to network in China.
Networking is the easiest in bars and clubs. Since Chinese love going to Clubs, especially with electronic dance music, there are special areas only for Chinese. Internationals have free entry and alcohol in these locations. Eventhough the alcohol is very bad (poured into Belvedere and Hennessey bottles), you get a table and can have a nice time for free. Rich Chinese people have big lounges and watch international people having fun. I feel like a zoo animal every time.
Everyday more and more, I realise what interesting kind of country this is. It is a country full of contrasts. On the one side, there is the old Chinese culture with its history and beliefs. Chinese believed that the „country in the middle,” was carried by a tortoise. Other countries were somewhere in the ocean. That’s why China still does not really know much about other cultures. On the other side, there is this modern efficient side. Big skyscrapers and new technology. Most of the older generation has a smartphone.
Talking about efficiency. Chinese people are so special. Everything is supposed to be efficient here. But people behave differently. People sleep everywhere. During daytime in their cars, in classes, during worktime. And I have never seen people consuming that much food. In Restaurants for example, you cannot even see the table. While Sightseeing, they just sit down everywhere and consume food. Acting after needs and heart. This is refreshing beneath German strictness and narrow-mindedness.
We got a bit tired of China- i still love it, but i used to love it more (yes ovo). But all in all, I am so happy I chose Beijing for my exchange semestre. We have the best time being here and experiencing this beautiful country with its whole weirdness.