First meeting with the chinese language.
13.01.2012 2 °C
While everybody was talking about travelling fever, and butterflies and nerves and all that stuff that has to do with an adventure, I was just waiting for these "travel - symphtoms" to appear. I was anxious they never would come. And than, yesterday afternoon, when we head off to China, the butterflies where suddenly everywhere inside me, even in my little toe.
With a great group of 11 internals we headed off to Beijing, and arrived around 1 pm local time. The airport is enormous, but well arranged. After a little while we took the bus to the post- and technological university of Beijing, where we will stay during the first month of orientation. It was great to finally arrive, to unpack and take a shower, brushing teeth and all that stuff that we are so used to do, but which actually is quite a luxury.
The funny thing is that during the bus trip to the university campus, which was about an hour, we were so fascinated about the chinese way of writing, all the lines and firgures, the perfect strokes and calligraphy, that we totally forgot to look at the city. We were reading the signs, transalating them, and making stories to remember them. The chinese language consists of signs, not letters, and one sign is often the same as one whole word in our way of writing . I got to know that Beijing actually means north capital, or the capital of the north. Chinese is a fascinating language with an old history. Maybe it is just a myth, but I have heared that the chinese signs emerged from drawings of a spesific subject, and that after hundreds, or even thousands of years, these signs where changed and simplified, and became todays chinese. Many years ago there was a huge difference between the way women wrote and mans' writing, but today the concept of standard chinese is common, and was introduced in 1949, along with the establishment of the communist government. In other words, a very interesting development of a very interesting language.
As an alien you feel however like an illiterate person here in China. You neither can speek the language nor read it, and most of the chinese don't speek English at all. We experienced this in a small restaurant, when we went out for supper. We ordered a meal by just pointing at some pictures, but when the waitress asked us something we had no idea what she said or how to answer. There is however an amazing universal language called body language. But nevertheless it is a very good idea to learn some basic words and phrases. When we got our food served I forgot totally that we had to eat with chopsticks, which is very difficult. I ended up eating one rise corn at the time, and with a lot of effort maybe two, but it was really fun to try.
Well, we have loads to learn, a lot to practice and loads of great experiences still to come.
For now I just say goodnight, or good afternoon, or maybe good morning, depends on where on the world you are at the moment.