A Travellerspoint blog

Nihów

First meeting with the chinese language.

semi-overcast 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.

Posted by EmmaMM 21:30 Archived in China Comments (0)

An adventure is waiting

4 days left in Norway

-10 °C

And once again my suitcase will be packed with clothes, books, pens and papers. Once again I will head off to a crowded place here on earth, once again I will feel lost on the planet, and once again an adventure is waiting. Early in the autumn a friend of mine told me about a program she herself had joined, called Teach and Travel China. With an organization you would have the oppertunity to become an English teacher for chinese school kids. From the second she told me, I had made up my mind, I was going to China, to become a teacher for one semester. That day, early in september everything still seemed so far away. And here I am, with loads of work and less preperations behind me, ready to head off to China in four days from now. I have no idea what to expect, so I decided not to expect anything at all. Totally unprepared I will place my feet on unknown ground. I know I am going to miss my friends and family. I know I am going to miss my work at McDonalds and the cheerful colegues included. I know I am going to miss the clean air that fills your lungs every second of the day. I know I am going to miss the silence, the language, the cozy café's and the christmaslights in the city. I am going to miss the sunset which makes the snow look like thousands of twinkeling diamonds, and Venus, which appears just near the sun at around 4 pm. On the other hand, I can't wait to climb the great wall, I can't wait to teach others English, I can't wait to walk through narrow, crowded streets, or learn about chinese culture and language. I am looking forward to get to know people from all corners of the world. I am looking forward to a challenge, and a challenge it will be.
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Posted by EmmaMM 09:17 Archived in Norway Comments (0)

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