The year of the Rooster has come to an end – the new year is the year of the Goat. I therefore wish my readers a very Happy Chinese New Year, or as they say in Mandarin, 新年快乐 - xīn nián kuài lè!
For me, my new years’ resolutions are the same as they were for Western New Year, to live life to the full here in China, to immerse myself in Chinese Culture, to learn as much Mandarin as possible and to be a good teacher.
The first month and a bit has been such an enjoyable experience here in China, as has meeting my new work colleagues, and dare I say it, getting tipsy with them over dinner sometimes, and of course, experiencing a new culture that is so different from my own.
China has got to be the least Western country that I have ever been to, and of all the countries outside of Europe on that list, China, Turkey and Ethiopia are the only three to have never been colonised by a European power for any appreciable amount of time and this naturally makes China much more different from Europe, than say, Guatemala or the USA.
Naturally, there are a lot of differences between China and my own country. The Language barrier certainly is a challenge and there are times when I have not known what people were trying to say and had to apologise and just be at a loss, and other times when I feel proud to have been able to understand and communicate successfully in my mandarin.
Of course, there are many social conventions which are different, and others which are more the same. Certainly, I have found the people to be often very friendly, with some initiating conversation with me and even offering me certain things.
Having stayed in Nanjing since I arrived in China on the 8th of January, I have now booked a day-trip for the 19th to the city of Suzhou, located between Nanjing and Shanghai.
Suzhou, often nicknamed as the ‘Venice of the East’ is well known it’s canals, gardens, temples and pagodas, many of which date back to the Song dynasty, that which predated the Mongol invasion, and beyond. How lucky that I happen to be so close to it.
And talking of lucky, I would also like to thank my family for posting my new posting my new blog articles online while I have been in China. 谢谢你们
And for the rest of you,
Happy Chinese New Year.