As the days go on, I get more and more accustomed to living in China. We’re traveling through the metro like locals, riding the bus, we know where to go for groceries, and know some basic Chinese words like bathroom, water, how much, make it cheaper, and even the name of our school. In addition to all this, I was even given a Chinese name by my accounting professor! So from now on, you may call me 小芳 (Xiǎo Fāng), which means “little flower.”
After our very eventful Golden Week, we have just been traveling around Tianjin sight-seeing and enjoying our time. In fact, recently, a few of our Chinese classmates, Karen and Rebecca, invited us to go out for dinner, then attend a Chinese Post Rock concert at a local bar. This was very nice because we were able to experience this type of music and also talk to our classmates out of the school environment. We got to learn about where they’re from, where they have traveled to (whether within or outside China), and what they plan for their future. It’s interesting to see how even coming from different cultures, studying and traveling seem to be what both the American and Chinese students want to do.
As for Halloween, the Chinese don’t really celebrate it as much as we do. Only bars and restaurants really decorate for the holiday. However, one of the on campus English clubs invited us to a Halloween party where they played games and carved pumpkins. A lot of the Chinese students kept asking if we had done this before, because they definitely haven’t, so it was nice to share this tradition with them.
This exchange is definitely opening my eyes to something completely different than what I am used to and I am forever grateful for allowing myself to go through this journey. I’m learning to live a different lifestyle and realizing that not everyone enjoys the luxuries we have at home. It’s all making me appreciate so much. For instance, something as simple as a clothes drying machine. Here we don’t have access to one, causing us to hang our clothes to dry. Because of this, they kind of dry hard and wrinkly. It’s not a complete inconvenience, but who doesn’t like putting on nice, soft, and warm clothes?
However, the trip is not over yet, and I’m sure I will be learning a lot more soon!