It has been almost two weeks since we arrived in China. We have had one week of work training and are about to start the second week. The time has flown by. It has been a challenging ride to say the least. I was asked by a new friend, Maria, if I was experiencing any culture shock. It is both of our first years living abroad and so we have had very similar experiences. At first I told her that I was really doing quite well and not experiencing much of a shock. Our life here is not convenient but it is easy. All of the difficult things are set up for us by the school.
So when I asked her the same question, she started responding with things that I hadn’t really thought of as culture shock. Two of the cultural differences that take some getting used to, I have been feeling too: the temperature and the constant inability to communicate. We take for granted the ability to have a simple conversation with a clerk. Or to tell a taxi driver to turn left. But not here. Here we struggle constantly to get a simple thought across. I have been working on some Chinese phrases to help us. Everyday I must practice so I hope soon I’ll progress.
These phrases are, “I want”, “I don’t want”, “I have”, “I don’t have”, “Teach/tell me this”, “This”, “That”, “How much does it cost?”, “A little bit”. Also, I know some vocabulary about food and numbers. So far for two weeks, thats good enough. I can order dinner and communicate about which bus to take. The photos from this post are taken in an open air market in Huaqiao, Kunshan. This night, I ordered my meal successfully, and asked how much it cost. I didn’t quite understand her response, but I received exactly what I wanted to eat so that counts as success in my book.