The Dynamics of Chinese Relationships?

I should have known there was something a little out of whack way before this….last summer to be exact. Sun Tong, my Chinese roommate (and best Chinese friend) during the study abroad program last year had a boyfriend of over three years when I met her. I thought that that was adorable, but strangely her best friends (who also happened to be her classmates and roommates) had never met the guy…and he went to the same school as them. In America, we would find this EXTREMELY weird. I know it’s tacky to speak as the “voice” of America, because everyone’s not the same, but some things are just obvious and I’m sure most Americans would agree. Sun Tong was not the only one in this situation, I met at least 5 other people that summer who had significant others of many years who were not in their same social group. Maybe it seems strange because Americans start introducing their romantic interests to friends before labels even get drawn up, most of the time at least. While in China it is the opposite, first call them your boy/girlfriend and then see if they live up to the title? That’s my theory at least.

I started pestering Moon a week ago to introduce his girlfriend to us (did I mention that he has one now? It’s been going on since 2 or 3 months ago) but he said, “Probably not.” I was curious about this phenomenon of Chinese couples and asked another friend also why we haven’t met his girlfriend. He said, for him personally, it is because he doesn’t want to introduce her to his friends: what if she likes one of them and decides to date him? It would be too awkward…WHAT?! I told him that that made no sense, if he thought that she could ever do something like that then why are they dating? Then he looked at me like I was the crazy one. My theory: Since they are so quick to label, and it’s not common to introduce one’s social circle (unless you guys were already apart of the same circle of course), you have no idea what that person is really like.

Also, tonight I went to eat BBQ (Chinese style, which is different but oh so tasty) with my friends Avi, Patrick, Moon, and two Italian girls. We had a merry-old time eating and discussing topics ranging from the universe (Moon is a Physics major and he talks about some pretty cool, deep stuff) to who had it worse growing up in America (minority battle-we had Black, Asian, and Indian, haha…my life was good though, so I had no complaints). After that, Moon and I wanted to walk, so we strolled over to Helen’s while the others agree to meet us there later. Helen’s was nice as usual, but the important part was the walk home from Helen’s. I decided to go home early-ish because my voice was growing raspy and I have to teach in the morning. Moon of course accompanied me, he’ such a good friend, I actually feel bad sometimes because he’s such a gentleman (paying for things, going out of his way to do nice things, etc). While walking back to my dorm he got a call from his girlfriend (this whole not introducing them to friends thing is insane….I don’t even know her name! I will just call her GF) and she was asking where we were so that she could meet up with us. It was already 1am at this point so I asked him where she was coming from, he answered, “A dinner with old classmates, I know it’s late but its ok, I don’t let her drink.” My head rolled people! “ Let?…..let? Are you talking about your girlfriend or a pet?” I had to clarify because my confusion was so great.  Granted people, translating words into different languages may convey a different tone or meaning, things naturally get lost in translation, but still I was offended for her. Our conversation went something like this-

Me: Let? Are you her father?……Mother then?

Moon: Come on, you know what I mean. I can’t allow my girlfriend to get drunk, what happens if someone wants to take advantage of her? It can get dangerous.

Me: Valid point, but I drink and nothing’s happened to me. You know why? Because I have friends that I trust there with me. Can’t she do the same?

Moon: But when a person drinks they do things they would never do, what happens if she gets involved with a guy there? Then I would have to forgive her but I would be angry.

Me: Don’t you trust her? When you drink it loosens you up a little bit, you don’t become a COMPLETELY different person, if she’s a good girl then don’t worry. You can’t boss her around like that. She has the right to personal freedom.

Moon: Of course she has freedom; I don’t complain about staying out this late, I just say not to drink. Most Japanese and Korean men don’t even let their women go outside at night (I know guys….what century right? I promise he’s not usually a Neanderthal, he honestly felt he was making sense)

Me: Why don’t you just get to know her friends to see if she’s safe with them? Caring about her safety is sweet, not trusting her is something else.

Moon: That would be intruding on her freedom, we both have our own circles (so then I understood, our concepts of freedom were clashing culturally). Besides what if she has a guy who likes her and I meet him, he wouldn’t want to be friends with her anymore if he sees me.

Me: Duh, that’s part of the point. Not to mention your lives should be semi-cohesive. In American relationships, telling your partner what to do and what not to do is seen as stepping over boundaries, impeding almost. But you know what, my ideals have been set in pretty far so I think we are going to have to agree to disagree, you are dating a Chinese girl so why care what Westerners think?

At this point his girlfriend finally found us and we continued on the walk to my dorm. I tried to make them head over to Moon’s place first but they wouldn’t hear of it, and insisted on walking me even though it was out of their way. I really wanted to talk to GF but Moon walked in between us and continued on with our above conversation…in English this time, I had a feeling it was to exclude GF from the conversation. I felt bad, but what could I do? I asked him why she arrived (naively thinking she lives in the same apartment block as him) but of course she was there to go back and spend the night with him. I told him he would NEVER be getting any from any self-proud Western girl, I would have put him on booty call time out. He was doing EVERYTHING wrong. He spoke to me in English for the rest of the 10 minute walk, insisted on walking me home, didn’t hold her hand (sure as the third wheel I appreciated it, but I’m listing reasons why he doesn’t deserve nooky here), didn’t talk with her at all, insisted on walking me to the gate, and when I left for my two minute walk from the gate to my door he called right away to talk with me until I got in because it might be “dangerous”…..for the first time I feel like I deserve the hate of a girlfriend, but she was totally fine. No complaints out of this girl, I told him to stick with timid, because he would die with a fierier girl, that’s for sure.

All of these things might seem as if he’s making a pass at me, but I swear he’s not. He knows how interested I am in meeting GF and talking with her (I complained about how he secluded us from each other) so we are going to have dinner together tomorrow. Wish me luck guys, hopefully she’s awesome despite my slightly feminist reservations, haha~

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The Dynamics of Chinese Relationships

I should have known there was something a little out of whack way before this….last summer to be exact. Sun Tong, my Chinese roommate (and best Chinese friend) during the study abroad program last year had a boyfriend of over three years when I met her. I thought that that was adorable, but strangely her best friends (who also happened to be her classmates and roommates) had never met the guy…and he went to the same school as them. In America, we would find this EXTREMELY weird. I know it’s tacky to speak as the “voice” of America, because everyone’s not the same, but some things are just obvious and I’m sure most Americans would agree. Sun Tong was not the only one in this situation, I met at least 5 other people that summer who had significant others of many years who were not in their same social group. Maybe it seems strange because Americans start introducing their romantic interests to friends before labels even get drawn up, most of the time at least. While in China it is the opposite, first call them your boy/girlfriend and then see if they live up to the title? That’s my theory at least.

I started pestering Moon a week ago to introduce his girlfriend to us (did I mention that he has one now? It’s been going on since 2 or 3 months ago) but he said, “Probably not.” I was curious about this phenomenon of Chinese couples and asked another friend also why we haven’t met his girlfriend. He said, for him personally, it is because he doesn’t want to introduce her to his friends: what if she likes one of them and decides to date him? It would be too awkward…WHAT?! I told him that that made no sense, if he thought that she could ever do something like that then why are they dating? Then he looked at me like I was the crazy one. My theory: Since they are so quick to label, and it’s not common to introduce one’s social circle (unless you guys were already apart of the same circle of course), you have no idea what that person is really like.

Also, tonight I went to eat BBQ (Chinese style, which is different but oh so tasty) with my friends Avi, Patrick, Moon, and two Italian girls. We had a merry old time eating discussing topics from the universe (Moon is a physics major and he talks about some pretty cool deep stuff) to who had it worse growing up in America (minority battle-we had Black, Asian, and Indian, haha…my life was good though so I had no complaints). After that, Moon and I wanted to walk, so we strolled over to Helen’s while the others agree to meet us there later. Helen’s was nice as usual, but the important part was the walk home from Helen’s. I decided to go home early-ish because my voice was growing raspy and I have to teach in the morning. Moon of course accompanied me, he’ such a good friend, I actually feel bad sometimes because he’s such a gentleman (paying for things, going out of his way to do nice things, etc). While walking back to my dorm he got a call from his girlfriend (this whole not introducing them to friends thing is insane….I don’t even know her name! I will just call her GF) and she was asking where we were so that she could meet up with us. It was already 1am at this point so I asked him where she was coming from, he answered, “A dinner with old classmates, I know it’s late but its ok, I don’t let her drink.” My head rolled people! “ Let?…..let? Are you talking about your girlfriend or a pet? I had to clarify because my confusion was so great.  Granted people, translating words into different languages may convey a different tone or meaning, things naturally get lost in translation, but still I was offended for her. Our conversation went something like this-

Me: Let? Are you her father?……Mother then?

Moon: Come on, you know what I mean. I can’t allow my girlfriend to get drunk, what happens if someone wants to take advantage of her? It can get dangerous.

Me: Valid point, but I drink and nothing’s happened to me. You know why? Because I have friends that I trust there with me. Can’t she do the same?

Moon: But when you drink you do things you would never do, what happens if she gets involved with a guy there? Then I would have to forgive her but I would be angry.

Me: Don’t you trust her? When you drink it loosens you up a little bit, you don’t become a COMPLETELY different person, if she’s a good girl then don’t worry. You can’t boss her around like that. She has the right to personal freedom.

Moon: Of course she has freedom; I don’t complain about staying out this late, I just say not to drink. Most Japanese and Korean men don’t even let their women go outside at night (I know guys….what century right? I promise he’s not usually a Neanderthal, he honestly felt he was making sense)

Me: Why don’t you just get to know her friends to see if she’s safe with them? Caring about her safety is sweet, not trusting her is something else.

Moon: That would be intruding on her freedom, we both have our own circles (so then I understood, our concepts of freedom were clashing culturally). Besides what if she has a guy who likes her and I meet him, he wouldn’t want to be friends with her anymore if he sees me.

Me: Duh, that’s part of the point. Not to mention your lives should be semi-cohesive. In American relationships, telling your partner what to do and what not to do is seen as stepping over boundaries, impeding almost. But you know what, my ideals have been set in pretty far so I think we are going to have to agree to disagree, you are dating a Chinese girl so why care what Westerners think?

At this point his girlfriend finally found us and we continued on the walk to my dorm. I tried to make them head over to Moon’s place first but they wouldn’t hear of it, and insisted on walking me even though it was out of their way. I really wanted to talk to GF but Moon walked in between us and continued on with our above conversation…in English this time, I had a feeling it was to exclude GF from the conversation. I felt bad, but what could I do? I asked him why she arrived (naively thinking she lives in the same apartment block as him) but of course she was there to go back and spend the night with him. I told him he would NEVER be getting any from any self-proud Western girl, I would have put him on booty call time out. He was doing EVERYTHING wrong. He spoke to me in English for the rest of the 10 minute walk, insisted on walking me home, didn’t hold her hand (sure as the third wheel I appreciated it, but I’m listing reasons why he doesn’t deserve nooky here), didn’t talk with her at all, insisted on walking me to the gate, and when I left for my two minute walk from the gate to my door he called right away to talk with me until I got in because it might be “dangerous”…..for the first time I feel like I deserve the hate of a girlfriend, but she was totally fine. No complaints out of this girl, I told him to stick with timid, because he would die with a fierier girl, that’s for sure.

All of these things might seem as if he’s making a pass at m, but I swear he’s not. He knows how interested I am in meeting GF and talking with her (I complained about how he secluded us from each other) so we are going to have dinner together tomorrow. Wish me luck guys, hopefully she’s awesome despite my slightly feminist reservations, haha~

The Dynamics of Chinese Relationships

I should have known there was something a little out of whack way before this….last summer to be exact. Sun Tong, my Chinese roommate (and best Chinese friend) during the study abroad program last year had a boyfriend of over three years when I met her. I thought that that was adorable, but strangely her best friends (who also happened to be her classmates and roommates) had never met the guy…and he went to the same school as them. In America, we would find this EXTREMELY weird. I know it’s tacky to speak as the “voice” of America, because everyone’s not the same, but some things are just obvious and I’m sure most Americans would agree. Sun Tong was not the only one in this situation, I met at least 5 other people that summer who had significant others of many years who were not in their same social group. Maybe it seems strange because Americans start introducing their romantic interests to friends before labels even get drawn up, most of the time at least. While in China it is the opposite, first call them your boy/girlfriend and then see if they live up to the title? That’s my theory at least.

I started pestering Moon a week ago to introduce his girlfriend to us (did I mention that he has one now? It’s been going on since 2 or 3 months ago) but he said, “Probably not.” I was curious about this phenomenon of Chinese couples and asked another friend also why we haven’t met his girlfriend. He said, for him personally, it is because he doesn’t want to introduce her to his friends: what if she likes one of them and decides to date him? It would be too awkward…WHAT?! I told him that that made no sense, if he thought that she could ever do something like that then why are they dating? Then he looked at me like I was the crazy one. My theory: Since they are so quick to label, and it’s not common to introduce one’s social circle (unless you guys were already apart of the same circle of course), you have no idea what that person is really like.

Also, tonight I went to eat BBQ (Chinese style, which is different but oh so tasty) with my friends Avi, Patrick, Moon, and two Italian girls. We had a merry old time eating discussing topics from the universe (Moon is a physics major and he talks about some pretty cool deep stuff) to who had it worse growing up in America (minority battle-we had Black, Asian, and Indian, haha…my life was good though so I had no complaints). After that, Moon and I wanted to walk, so we strolled over to Helen’s while the others agree to meet us there later. Helen’s was nice as usual, but the important part was the walk home from Helen’s. I decided to go home early-ish because my voice was growing raspy and I have to teach in the morning. Moon of course accompanied me, he’ such a good friend, I actually feel bad sometimes because he’s such a gentleman (paying for things, going out of his way to do nice things, etc). While walking back to my dorm he got a call from his girlfriend (this whole not introducing them to friends thing is insane….I don’t even know her name! I will just call her GF) and she was asking where we were so that she could meet up with us. It was already 1am at this point so I asked him where she was coming from, he answered, “A dinner with old classmates, I know it’s late but its ok, I don’t let her drink.” My head rolled people! “ Let?…..let? Are you talking about your girlfriend or a pet? I had to clarify because my confusion was so great.  Granted people, translating words into different languages may convey a different tone or meaning, things naturally get lost in translation, but still I was offended for her. Our conversation went something like this-

Me: Let? Are you her father?……Mother then?

Moon: Come on, you know what I mean. I can’t allow my girlfriend to get drunk, what happens if someone wants to take advantage of her? It can get dangerous.

Me: Valid point, but I drink and nothing’s happened to me. You know why? Because I have friends that I trust there with me. Can’t she do the same?

Moon: But when you drink you do things you would never do, what happens if she gets involved with a guy there? Then I would have to forgive her but I would be angry.

Me: Don’t you trust her? When you drink it loosens you up a little bit, you don’t become a COMPLETELY different person, if she’s a good girl then don’t worry. You can’t boss her around like that. She has the right to personal freedom.

Moon: Of course she has freedom; I don’t complain about staying out this late, I just say not to drink. Most Japanese and Korean men don’t even let their women go outside at night (I know guys….what century right? I promise he’s not usually a Neanderthal, he honestly felt he was making sense)

Me: Why don’t you just get to know her friends to see if she’s safe with them? Caring about her safety is sweet, not trusting her is something else.

Moon: That would be intruding on her freedom, we both have our own circles (so then I understood, our concepts of freedom were clashing culturally). Besides what if she has a guy who likes her and I meet him, he wouldn’t want to be friends with her anymore if he sees me.

Me: Duh, that’s part of the point. Not to mention your lives should be semi-cohesive. In American relationships, telling your partner what to do and what not to do is seen as stepping over boundaries, impeding almost. But you know what, my ideals have been set in pretty far so I think we are going to have to agree to disagree, you are dating a Chinese girl so why care what Westerners think?

At this point his girlfriend finally found us and we continued on the walk to my dorm. I tried to make them head over to Moon’s place first but they wouldn’t hear of it, and insisted on walking me even though it was out of their way. I really wanted to talk to GF but Moon walked in between us and continued on with our above conversation…in English this time, I had a feeling it was to exclude GF from the conversation. I felt bad, but what could I do? I asked him why she arrived (naively thinking she lives in the same apartment block as him) but of course she was there to go back and spend the night with him. I told him he would NEVER be getting any from any self-proud Western girl, I would have put him on booty call time out. He was doing EVERYTHING wrong. He spoke to me in English for the rest of the 10 minute walk, insisted on walking me home, didn’t hold her hand (sure as the third wheel I appreciated it, but I’m listing reasons why he doesn’t deserve nooky here), didn’t talk with her at all, insisted on walking me to the gate, and when I left for my two minute walk from the gate to my door he called right away to talk with me until I got in because it might be “dangerous”…..for the first time I feel like I deserve the hate of a girlfriend, but she was totally fine. No complaints out of this girl, I told him to stick with timid, because he would die with a fierier girl, that’s for sure.

All of these things might seem as if he’s making a pass at m, but I swear he’s not. He knows how interested I am in meeting GF and talking with her (I complained about how he secluded us from each other) so we are going to have dinner together tomorrow. Wish me luck guys, hopefully she’s awesome despite my slightly feminist reservations, haha~

Creep Alert

Creepers and parasites have been infiltrating my life!

I’m one creep short of calling the police, haha. Let me describe…

Major Creep #1:

As I described in an earlier post, I met a black guy in the club one time when I was (stupidly) trying to make Moon jealous. I say stupidly because I never even liked Moon like that, I am just a brat like that 😛 But anyways this guy’s name is Biggy (I laughed when I heard that name too) and he calls me at random times to this day. I have refused to meet up with him (even in group settings), ignored all calls, texted back only once, and told him I have a boyfriend. His response? “That’s not a problem; I just want to be friends.” Guys ALWAYS say that when we use the “got a boyfriend” excuse, don’t they? And I always just look at them and laugh….friends my big fat bumper sticker. Anyways, I sometimes still run into him at Helen’s, but I have ignoring him down to a science. This man has no pride, though, because he called again yesterday. Who does that?!? Ewww..sorry the thought of dating him (well, let me be honest, kissing him) just sent creepy chills down my spine….

Major Creep #2:

Sara, is a 16-year-old, Korean nuisance in my life right now. I smile too much and can make small talk with anything, so people often attach themselves to me, looking for friendship. Usually, I don’t care, I mean, just because a person doesn’t know how move around in social circles or is a little bit awkward doesn’t mean I won’t be their friend.. To a certain extent, of course. Sara, is a whole other case, she was the roommate of a nice, cute, popular Japanese girl last semester. So by extent she met a lot of us foreign students, but she was always dragged around by her roommate so we never minded when she partied with us. Graduating high school in Korea (in Asia in general) is very hard, exams and studying are everything, and students usually have classes from morning to late at night, not to mention weekends as well. The fact that she completed this journey 2 years early is a testament to her intelligence, not so much a testament to her social skills. She is strange, awkward, and annoying. Whenever we got to Helen’s she is just there…lurking. And we can’t ignore her, her roommate went back to Japan, but we can’t just let her sit by herself..that would be Mean Girls mean wouldn’t it? So no one invites her, but she comes anyways. Also, I always smile, so she always tries to sit next to me, and when she does, I talk for a second and then run. During those moments of torture, she always finds a way to mention how young she is (ALL the time, whenever ANYONE says their age, she says “Oh well that makes you # years older than me!”), asks me awkward questions (“I’m considered average in Korea, what would Americans think of me?…Am I ugly there too?”, “Would my personality be appreciated in America?”… How the heck would I answer that stuff truthfully?), and sometimes she tries to hold my hand! Also, she started this new thing where she hugs and kisses me on the cheek, she’s spent time with foreigners, as I’ve mentioned, and feels cool doing it. But she does it in a SUPER creepy way. Whenever I see her now, I look busy so I can ignore the whole hugging part. Also, she pops out of nowhere, or stalks where we live, she lives in the building behind us, but finds a way to stake out the only exit in our building. Sits on the bench outside, hangs out at the front door, twice I’ve seen her sitting in the dark down there by herself. CREEP!

Major Creep #3:

Two days ago, we went to the theater to watch Titanic 3D (yeah yeah, don’t judge me). First, we got some sandwiches at Subway and then headed to the movie to buy tickets…but I was weak! We walked by a McDonalds and I decided to stop and buy an ice cream, while I told the others to go on ahead.  By the time I caught up with them, they were already in line and I decided to wait outside, listen to my audio book, and enjoy my guilty pleasure. Then a short Chinese woman in her early 20s stopped in front of me and said the infamous, “Hello.” I ignored her of course and pretended not to be aboe to hear, I even pointed to my head phones, but she kept on trying, “How are you? What is your name?” So I had to make a decision, should I pretend to only speak English (intimidate her by speaking quickly, using big words, if she only had basic English skills this would scare her off, if her English was good, this would make her want to talk to me even more) or pretend to only speak Chinese (this would make her go away if she were looking for English practice)….I went with the latter option. But this made her very happy because her English wasn’t that great anyways (FML!) She wanted to listen to my book with me, kept telling me how pretty I am, wanted to join us in watching a movie, and wanted my cell phone number. All in about a 5 minute time span…she came on strong! I dropped all pretenses of politeness and started ignoring this cray cray. After a second, she took a look at my ice cream and said, “”That looks delicious, I only brought my debit card so could you help me buy one?” I obviously told her no, but in a nice way (damn my niceness), I said that McDonalds was too far away and that I was waiting for my friends. Not a problem at all though, because she came up with a nice solution: just give her a ten. I scoffed in disgust and told her no….kind of, I said that I didn’t feel comfortable giving her money and MAYBE I would do it when my friends got back. She turned for a second and I ran to them and we scurried away to wait for the upcoming movie in a milk tea shop. I thought I was free….until 30 minutes later when I turned my head and the woman sitting right beside me was the creepy lady! I jumped and clutched my purse even tighter, a move that she noticed but I didn’t care at that point. She had a menu in her hand and asked me, “Well how about getting me a drink here instead?” I kid you not! Then I called her bluff, “No thanks, but this place takes cards so you shouldn’t have any problems (polite smile)”. She walked out a few minutes later, no drink purchased of course. I need to spend some time in the mirror practicing my bitch glare.

Major Creep #4:

You all know about the game I play with the beloved reporters, I hide, they seek…its great fun. Well I ignore all phone calls from numbers I don’t know; there was a very persistent number, after about a hundred calls she sent me a text that went something like this, “Hi my name is (something something), I’m a student in Tianjin Normal University studying media production and we were hoping to interview you for our final project.” I hesitated, but still chose to ignore them, because whenever I agree to an interview, it becomes an entire day of them pushing and prodding me. Well, two weeks later, I got a knock on my dorm room floor, guess who it was? Yes, the girl was at my door and made things SUPER awkward. Saying things like, “We tried your phone and couldn’t reach you (I had no answer for that), I know you must be busy but do you have any time, any time at all in the next upcoming month?” There was no way that I could refuse without looking like a complete bitch, which I am but only on the inside people. So I agreed, and she came back that following Sunday morning. I rolled out of bed and went down in my sweats, expecting a newspaper type of interview….I got downstairs and there were two other girls with her AND a big @$$ video camera. It annoyed me SO much; I had to change, put on makeup, etc. After an hour, it was finished and I was glad, but they wanted to get a few videos and photos from me, but forgot to bring a USB and wanted to come by later. The next week they texted, and I was ready to answer when they could swing by, but I looked further down and saw that they asked for an opportunity to also record some of my “everyday life”. I swear, you give these people an inch and they take 20 miles. So I ignored them again, meaning to answer back with a no, but got busy and forgot. Then one Saturday morning two of them kept calling me nonstop, I got so annoyed, but ignored them and started getting ready for work. Then I had a bad feeling, premonition if you will, and surely not 20 minutes later, they started knocking on my door. I quietly kept doing my hair, and they knocked for another 30 minutes asking if I was inside…what creeps, who stands outside of a seemingly empty room for that long? They went away and I meant to stay inside, but had to go to work (I didn’t even get to go out and grab breakfast), I had a feeling that they would stalk the door to my dorms, but as I mentioned above there are no other exits (what a fire hazard) so I went down and prayed. Low-and-behold the nutcases were there, I brushed them off saying I was late and allowed them to come by later ONLY for photos and videos.

All in all, we all have creeps in our lives; I just felt like writing a dedication to the people who take the term very seriously, and do the title proud. They are amazing aren’t they?

Family Time!

Ok, I swear I’m working on the Nanjing TV show post (don’t stone me yet!), but i have to make a short post about my family coming to visit me in under a month. I am soooooo excited, we talked for hours this morning about specific timelines and plans. By visiting family includes one of my favorite cousins, Wendy (she has a much lighter skin tone than me, so I wonder what race everyone here will think she is….full white?), my older sister, Stephanie (she commutes to college and lives with our overly strict parents, so I can’t wait to see her carefree and travelling), and my little sister Diana (the one who learns Chinese as well, and was with me last summer). The four of us can make anything into a funny situation. When it comes to me and my sisters I always tell all of my friends that it’s like hanging out with me, but times three. And trust me, I’m kind of crazy (in a good way!) on my own. Nevertheless, I have yet to meet someone who was a friend of one of us, who didn’t love the rest of us. Wendy is crazy, funny in a more low-key manner, she can get shy around people she doesn’t know but gets into schemes easily enough. Actually, she has never partied before so I can’t wait to corrupt enlighten her. We are going to take Tianjin, Beijing, and Qingdao by storm!

Also, Stephanie was an aspiring writer when she was little (wrote a lot of awesome short stories and novels) and I’m going to force her to let her write a few guest posts. Hopefully, she can help readers see China from a non-biased stand point…I’m sure you guys will enjoy it~

In the “Southern Capital”

Just a heads up- I’m going to reserve this first update to be specifically about everything we did in Nanjing that didn’t include the TV show. I will talk about that experience in the next post 🙂

My friend Alex and I left early in the morning on March 31st to catch our train to Nanjing. Getting to the train station was a bit of a hassle because of traffic and the location of the station, it was a far off one that only has trains heading to Shanghai. Well, Nanjing is a stop along the way to Shanghai so off we went! (Hooray!)

It took 4 hours and we were in Nanjing by 1:30, bought return train tickets for the 2nd, ate dumplings, lost my luggage, found my luggage, and then hopped in a cab to the hotel the TV station reserved for me. Quite the eventful time at the train station, haha. Side Note: Something we noticed right away was how funny Nanjing dialect sounds, they make sounds that is not even normal Chinese. I don’t know how to explain it, Chinese has only so many phonetic sounds, which aren’t a lot, which creates the need for tones, but people from Nanjing were speaking all kinds of crazy! Back on track: The cab ride to the hotel was beautiful, Alex and I couldn’t help but notice that Nanjing seems greener than Tianjin…weird observation but it is true. There were parks, clean skies, bushes of flowers, trees everywhere, and actually plant life on the street meridians. I don’t mean to make Tianjin seem like a barren wasteland, because it’s not, but there is a distinct difference. After a stop at the hotel and TV station we were free, and went back to our hotel room to plan our trip. I’m way too casual about touring…I never know what NEEDS to be seen or what’s famous until I get there. Heck, I went to Hong Kong and still don’t know how to say, “My name is…” in Cantonese.  The only thing I ever heard about Nanjing was about the Japanese invasion, so we promptly got onto Google and Baidu (basically the Chinese version of Google) to find out where we should go. Since it was already late afternoon we heard that a nice place to go was the Confucius Temple at night. We met up two Nankai University classmates, Avi (an American friend of mine…literally we go to the same University and have known each other for years) and Lynn (a Vietnamese girl born in Germany…the funny thing is her parents speak Japanese rather than German like she does), and hit the temple up.

It’s located on the side of a famous river in Nanjing, and had a bunch of different light festival attractions going on. Not to mention there were all kinds of street food, we ate so many snacks that we didn’t even need to eat dinner. Then Lynn and Avi took a 50 minute boat cruise down the lake. Alex and I didn’t join in because I have been on enough boat cruises in this lifetime, or so I tell myself, it’s just that being on a boat gets SO boring and I always feel like it was a waste of time or money afterwards. In the end, we got back to our room at 11 and had a pretty early night so we would be ready for a full day of touring.

We woke up early and went to the train station (for reasons that are explained in the TV Show post), and then we met up with Avi and Lynn for lunch and a trek to the Sun Yet Sen Mausoleum. It was a very hot day, and there was a hell of a climb to get to his mausoleum…in fact I’m still not sure if he was buried there or not…meh. A really cool part of this attraction was a section called “The Music Stage” (I’m translating from Chinese…it sounds more normal in the original language, I swear). It had a large fountain in the middle, benches, Grecian architecture, flowers, trees, music, and doves. There were so many of them, and you could buy food and feed them, it was a very nice, relaxing place. Then, we also took a five yuan bus to another nearby sight, The Nanjing Xiaoling Mausoleum. We originally went there for the tombs, but got sidetracked and walked into a Plum Blossom Festival, don’t ask questions…I have no answers. It was beautiful of course, but it took us over an hour to get back on track, and almost another hour to find the tombs. In the end we made it most of the way, took a look at a map, and gave up….the place was HUGE and our feet hurt. I must say Lynn is a trooper, she wore heels the entire time and not one complaint.

The most amusing part of this trek was watching Alex try to dodge middle school girls and women taking photos of him or asking for photos with him. It’s funny because they always assume we can’t understand Chinese, so we can hear them saying things like, “You go ask him…No, YOU go ask him…OMG, and doesn’t he look just like Edward from Twilight?”  So he has an advantage, it gives him time to know which way to run and where to hide…it’s hilarious! He has to hide though, because if one asks the others all rally up courage and then it becomes an impromptu photo shoot. (I’m going to ask him if I can put a picture of him up on this so you guys can see, he actually does look like him….and in China that’s practically a death sentence.)He’s a veritable heartthrob among the masses (don’t get me wrong, I hate Twilight, but I am speaking from the Chinese stand point). Whenever we walk into a room, it doesn’t take that long for the words, “Vampire”, “Edward”, and “Twilight” to get thrown around, but in Nanjing it was crazy, it would take only three seconds. Then we would have to pick a corner of the subway train with the least estrogen to go around.

That actually leads into the next day of touring, because we decided to go to the Nanjing Massacre Memorial. Over 300,000 Chinese people were killed during the Japanese invasion and the Memorial is at the burial ground for 10,000 of them. It was very sobering and sad to see the corpses of babies, children, and old people, apparently soldiers used copper nails to drill into children…don’t ask me why this was a better method than guns, I will never know. Regardless, the memorial was tastefully done because it ended with a “Peace Garden” with signs encouraging everyone to love and embrace one another. I really liked that place, but anyways, somewhere in between the burial ground and the garden, we got separated from Alex. Then we spotted him, but were so far away…too far to do anything when the group of middle-schoolers on a field trip spotted him as well. It was like watching a train wreck, don’t get me wrong, we laughed and let him be tortured for a while, but after a few minutes swooped in to save him. Didn’t want anyone to have a chance to ask for a souvenir neck nibble. It was too late though, and a crowd began following us, so Alex and I had to hold hands like a couple to scare them off. I didn’t work though because we realized, too late, that seeing an interracial, interspecies (vampire/human?) couple was just as appealing. So we smacked sunglasses on him and walked quickly away. Afterwards, we went to a peaceful garden next to a lake and kicked it with a bunch of old people. They were really nice, but we could barely understand them, their Nanjing accents were strong. I wanted to adopt an old lady who reminded me of my grandma though, she was so adorable! Tiny lady with strong opinions and a very loud voice, haha.

That night Alex and I walked around to find any attractions, but Nanjing is pretty dead after a certain time. You can’t even watch any shows like Beijing Opera, Kung Fu, or Acrobatics. The next night after the TV show recording we tried to find the Nanjing party scene, but it was basically nonexistent. We went to two bars and a club then called it a night. All in all, I was really glad I got to the chance to see another area of China practically for free…life is good!

Nanjing Here I Come (Sigh, TV again)

It’s true; I’m going to Nanjing in just a few days. I’m really excited, recently, I’ve been feeling caged in, like I was stuck in a rut doing the same thing: Wake up, go to class, eat, workout, go to sleep…everyday, and on the weekends it’s Helen’s, clubbing, and work. So I’ve been feeling the travel bug for a while, and God has answered my prayers. I ignored an unnamed phone number, as I always do, and after several missed calls she texted me saying she was a producer for a famous TV show of an even more famous TV station. Called《 非常了得》. The host of the show is one of China’s most famous Xiangsheng performers, Guo DeGang (郭德刚) . He has always been my favorite performer, I’ve seen many of his shows and will be such a fan girl, even if he is old and bald. He’s the reason why I agreed for to go on this show at all. The other host of the show is another famous, bald man, Meng Fei (孟非), he is the current host of China’s most famous dating show, 《非诚勿扰》。 Back when my laptop was broken and I had nothing to console my internet deprived soul, I watched that dating show everyday~ ( I plan on dropping hints that Alex is single and get him on the show as one of the eligible bachelors, the girls will go crazy for him!) I don’t mean to babble on like a love-struck teenager, but I can’t wait to meet them….even if I have to humiliate myself on public television as millions of Chinese people watch. I don’t even really know what they want me on the show for…I can’t do my Xiangsheng performance without my partner going with me and they didn’t even ask about my clapper-storytelling. So I will definitely NOT mention it myself! Regardless, I have a free trip to Nanjing to enjoy, I will arrive Saturday afternoon and come back to Tianjin Tuesday night. God really blessed me, because that we have holiday until Wednesday, so I won’t even be missing class. And I was able to talk Alex into going to Nanjing with me. Thank goodness because I would hate to go alone, the show is willing to pay for his room so we bought him a train ticket today!! My Chinese level is definitely not good enough for this, but that’s a mistake for them to depress over, I get a free trip to a new part of China, so I don’t care…Though I know the day of I will be nervous enough to cough up a lung…meh, that’s tomorrow’s problem.

Here’s a link to one of my Xiangsheng performances, because I can’t remember if I put a link up before.

Also, here’s a link from a recent episode of the show I will be attending next week.

Both videos are in Chinese and don’t have subtitles, so watch only if you want to get a feel for the show or can speak Chinese I guess 🙂 Enjoy!

Side Note: My Chinese teacher from America (basically a father figure to all of us) wrote on his facebook wall: “Next week, my amazing student, Marsha, will appear on the popular Chinese television show 《非常了得》 with the famous comedian and host Guo Degang. At one point last year, this was the #1 rated show in China for the 10 PM time block. Not bad for an undergraduate who has only been studying Chinese since the fall of 2008. Wish I could be there in the studio audience to cheer her on and get her autograph!” He’s so embarassing and sweet all at the same time, haha…guess that’s where the whole father-figure thing comes in, right?

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