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Q: What and how was your first experience of Chinese culture?

3 years 27 weeks ago in  Lifestyle - China

 
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Shifu

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Flying into Beijing for my first teaching job. Very little information given and not really knowing what to expect. A very long drive through Beijing to a dingy office someplace to get processed. Very unsettling to me. Dumped off into a run down hotel room for the night with an early morning trek to my school in Lianyungang. No direct answers to my questions. No real dialog. Very unwelcoming. This was 8 years ago. 

Stiggs:

I remember flying into Beijing for the first time also not knowing what to expect. I found the shuttle going to the airport hotel I'd booked online and my first impression was 'the driving here terrifies me and what's the deal with all the horn honking?'

 

The hotel had no record of my reservation, there was only one person who spoke some basic English, they tried to charge me more than the advertised price for the room and the sheets on the bed had nasty wet stains on them from whoever had been there last. Nobody there smiled, everyone seemed to be pissed off at me. I was starting to wonder what I'd got myself into.I don't think I slept that night.

 

The next morning I got the flight to the low tier city my job was in and when we landed the runway had weeds growing in the cracks on it and the officials at the crappy little airport were all surly and seemed pissed off at me.I hoped like hell I was in the right city - I had no way of knowing. I couldn't speak any Chinese, nobody there spoke any English, the signs were all in Chinese, I was really tired because I hadn't slept for the last two days and was feeling culture shocked and intimidated. It was the first time I'd been somewhere that felt hostile and where I couldn't communicate at all and everyone seemed to be pissed off at me.

 

I was picked up by a Chinese manager and a foreign teacher from my new school and I remember being almost ridiculously relieved that they were friendly and spoke English. The drive to the school blew me away, we went through the outskirts of the city where the buildings were all single story brick huts with old tires and things on the roof to presumably hold it on, almost nothing was paved,people were washing their clothes in plastic basins on the street, there were donkeys and bikes that looked like they were made in the 1950s everywhere, it was hot and dusty and smelt weird. That's nothing unusual to me now but at the time it was like arriving in a warzone or something. As we got into the city everything was grey concrete, more people than I'd seen anywhere in my life and, to me, chaotic streets. Nobody gave a shit about the lines on the road or traffic lights, there were donkey carts, bikes and taxis everywhere all doing whatever they wanted and people on the dirt next to the road selling fruit etc. I'd never seen anything like it.

 

We arrived at the school, I was introduced to lots of people who were super friendly and welcoming, I was relieved to be somewhere that felt somewhat 'safe' but I was so tired and culture shocked everything felt surreal. About an hour later I was watching classes to see how it was supposedly done, trying to stay awake and thinking 'there's no f*cking way I can do that', but I was supposed to start teaching tomorrow evening.

 

The managers and some FTs took me to a restaurant after watching two classes. I was expecting weird food I couldn't eat but everything was delicious. The restaurant experience itself was awesome to me - I'd never been in a restaurant with plastic chairs,paint falling off the walls, fat dudes with no shirts spitting on the floor and screaming at each other, local people kept talking to me but I didn't understand anything so others translated and they were asking where I was from, what I did etc ... again, nothing unusual to me now but at the time it was new and strange and exciting. After the meal the FTs took me somewhere else, we got drunk and they told me what I needed to know about working and living in China. I was starting to get a really good feeling about my new job.

 

I don't remember who took me to my shithole apartment after we got drunk but I do remember thinking it was a complete shithole but still looking forward to the year ahead of me. It was the first time I'd heard of a stairwell where you made noise to turn on the lights but the lights didn't work in this place so you walked up the stairs in the dark counting the landings and trying not to walk into all the old bikes and piles of crap in the stairwell until you got to where your apartment was and tried to open the door in the dark. My first night there (and lots of times after that) the water wasn't working, that's where I learnt to wash with a bottle of water and a the t-shirt I'd been wearing. I don't think I slept much that night either - I recall looking out the window at what seemed like an alien place to me and thinking 'I can't believe I'm in China.'

 

The next day and week was a blur of meeting new people, going out to eat and drink every night, learning how to live in China and the utterly terrifying experience of my first classes. It was difficult and frustrating but also awesome..

 

 

 

 

3 years 27 weeks ago
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Emperor

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Watching the Monkey King on TV when I was a kid.

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3 years 27 weeks ago
 
Posts: 548

Shifu

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Flying into Beijing for my first teaching job. Very little information given and not really knowing what to expect. A very long drive through Beijing to a dingy office someplace to get processed. Very unsettling to me. Dumped off into a run down hotel room for the night with an early morning trek to my school in Lianyungang. No direct answers to my questions. No real dialog. Very unwelcoming. This was 8 years ago. 

Stiggs:

I remember flying into Beijing for the first time also not knowing what to expect. I found the shuttle going to the airport hotel I'd booked online and my first impression was 'the driving here terrifies me and what's the deal with all the horn honking?'

 

The hotel had no record of my reservation, there was only one person who spoke some basic English, they tried to charge me more than the advertised price for the room and the sheets on the bed had nasty wet stains on them from whoever had been there last. Nobody there smiled, everyone seemed to be pissed off at me. I was starting to wonder what I'd got myself into.I don't think I slept that night.

 

The next morning I got the flight to the low tier city my job was in and when we landed the runway had weeds growing in the cracks on it and the officials at the crappy little airport were all surly and seemed pissed off at me.I hoped like hell I was in the right city - I had no way of knowing. I couldn't speak any Chinese, nobody there spoke any English, the signs were all in Chinese, I was really tired because I hadn't slept for the last two days and was feeling culture shocked and intimidated. It was the first time I'd been somewhere that felt hostile and where I couldn't communicate at all and everyone seemed to be pissed off at me.

 

I was picked up by a Chinese manager and a foreign teacher from my new school and I remember being almost ridiculously relieved that they were friendly and spoke English. The drive to the school blew me away, we went through the outskirts of the city where the buildings were all single story brick huts with old tires and things on the roof to presumably hold it on, almost nothing was paved,people were washing their clothes in plastic basins on the street, there were donkeys and bikes that looked like they were made in the 1950s everywhere, it was hot and dusty and smelt weird. That's nothing unusual to me now but at the time it was like arriving in a warzone or something. As we got into the city everything was grey concrete, more people than I'd seen anywhere in my life and, to me, chaotic streets. Nobody gave a shit about the lines on the road or traffic lights, there were donkey carts, bikes and taxis everywhere all doing whatever they wanted and people on the dirt next to the road selling fruit etc. I'd never seen anything like it.

 

We arrived at the school, I was introduced to lots of people who were super friendly and welcoming, I was relieved to be somewhere that felt somewhat 'safe' but I was so tired and culture shocked everything felt surreal. About an hour later I was watching classes to see how it was supposedly done, trying to stay awake and thinking 'there's no f*cking way I can do that', but I was supposed to start teaching tomorrow evening.

 

The managers and some FTs took me to a restaurant after watching two classes. I was expecting weird food I couldn't eat but everything was delicious. The restaurant experience itself was awesome to me - I'd never been in a restaurant with plastic chairs,paint falling off the walls, fat dudes with no shirts spitting on the floor and screaming at each other, local people kept talking to me but I didn't understand anything so others translated and they were asking where I was from, what I did etc ... again, nothing unusual to me now but at the time it was new and strange and exciting. After the meal the FTs took me somewhere else, we got drunk and they told me what I needed to know about working and living in China. I was starting to get a really good feeling about my new job.

 

I don't remember who took me to my shithole apartment after we got drunk but I do remember thinking it was a complete shithole but still looking forward to the year ahead of me. It was the first time I'd heard of a stairwell where you made noise to turn on the lights but the lights didn't work in this place so you walked up the stairs in the dark counting the landings and trying not to walk into all the old bikes and piles of crap in the stairwell until you got to where your apartment was and tried to open the door in the dark. My first night there (and lots of times after that) the water wasn't working, that's where I learnt to wash with a bottle of water and a the t-shirt I'd been wearing. I don't think I slept much that night either - I recall looking out the window at what seemed like an alien place to me and thinking 'I can't believe I'm in China.'

 

The next day and week was a blur of meeting new people, going out to eat and drink every night, learning how to live in China and the utterly terrifying experience of my first classes. It was difficult and frustrating but also awesome..

 

 

 

 

3 years 27 weeks ago
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3 years 27 weeks ago
 
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Emperor

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not my first experience of China, but certainly the 'hit and run' aspect of the questioning is the most significant experience.

 

The fakeness ( like creating fake personas online) of so many aspects of Chinese life
the 'interrogation' like questionong without the normal 'to and fro' of normal conversations.

the quick ability Chinese people have to take comments out of context and become 'offended' very quickly.

The ignoring of a reasonable question.
I especially love how foreigners are treated as 'zoo animals' as if we are not really human: being stared at, touched without permission, verbally harassed by the immature ('harooooo !!'), having our photo's taken.

 

icnif77:

There is the same quota of Qs asked ... daily.

 

However, OP must be real ... person, with most likely darker skin tone and whitish teeth.

OP probably origins from KwaZulu-Natal ... province ... .

'Siphakeme' is isi-Zulu word meaning "we are lifted" ... I can speak sooo .. many ... languages ... when Internet is up and running ...

 

http://www.siphakeme.org.za/about/

 

 

 

 

3 years 27 weeks ago
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3 years 27 weeks ago
 
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Governor

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After arriving in Shenzhen in the wee hours I waited several hours in the bus station with no adequate clothing for winter.

I thought the bus trip to Guanxi was a putrid nightmare, that is until we pulled into a rural bus station outside of Nanning for a snack and ablutions. F@ck me, the toilets were something from a horror movie. I still shudder to this day remembering squatting over a gutter running across the floor in front of a dude with laduzi who had his hand on my shoulder for balance. It's funny how everything steams when it is 1°C. Ahhh, good times!

icnif77:

Once, I took a ride with bus (sleeper) from Shenzhen to Fuzhou in Fujian ... on front seat/bed. The driver wanted to coach me to move away, but I liked front seat so much, I played stipud laowai. I was keep asking him: "Do you speak English ...?" and he gave-up

Some 1200 km in horizontal for the majority of the time with i-Pod in me ears. Blaaast ...

 

Could never score front seat/bed again at any of the similar bus rides ...

3 years 27 weeks ago
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Sandnose:

The sleeper bus was quite a thing. The racks were a bit thin and a bit short for me but my wife always arrived refreshed from a great sleep while I arrived a wrecked cripple.

3 years 27 weeks ago
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3 years 27 weeks ago
 
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