Sunday, January 30, 2011


     I am finishing my third week of Chinese classes today. After three weeks of learning 200+ words a week, I feel that I have the speaking ability of a 2-3 year old Chinese child. Compared to where I was when I started, that is saying a lot. I still don't understand 90% of what people say, but I am able to pick up on key words which is surprisingly helpful. Next week is Spring Festival, so I get one week off of school, then I go back for one final week. Fun's over after that...time to get a job. I have already applied for tutoring positions and have emailed a local western hospital's hiring manager about the possibility of trying to get a family liaison type position.

     So, back to Spring Festival...for those of who have never heard of it, it is a two week long holiday for the Chinese. This is typically the only holiday that they get off of work, and they take that opportunity to go home. It is custom to bring back whatever percentage of your yearly income you can part with and give it to your family, either in the form of straight cash or gifts (the sales right now are great by the way). The subways on the other hand are not great...everyone either has 50 shopping bags with them or they have multiple suitcases. Another holiday custom is to give children red envelopes with money in them. They have a saying here “紅包拿來” or in pinyin “hong bao na lai”. Give me money please. I will update you more on Spring Holiday once I have experienced it if I am not deaf or blind. What I mean by that is that fireworks are illegal in China except for during the Spring they shoot off fireworks for 2 straight weeks ALL DAY.

     Today got off to a rocky start. I ordered some vitamins on Amazon China several weeks ago and after two weeks I started to wonder where they might be. I finally found a number and had a friend of mine call the postal service that delivered it. After quite a while on the phone, they told her that they delivered my vitamins to a post office (I do not live in a post office). They told her that this is where my package now resides. So I went there with my order number and after being shuffled around between several postal employees I was told that they were going to ship it to me. So why did the postal service tell my friend to go pick it up at the post office? In the end, who knows! It was about the same helpful experience that you encounter going to an American post office (or any social service agency)...except with the added issue of the language barrier. Not fun. Every time I tried to speak in Chinese they would either laugh (great for my confidence) or scream at me in Chinese. Screaming here is the regular speaking volume, but it still shocks me from time to time. If they don't understand what your saying, I have been instructed to scream at them quickly and its like a light goes on in their head. No joke.  

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