To my surprise, my arrival in China went all very smoothly, unlike last time.
When I arrived at Shanghai airport, I asked a Chinese girl to call the hotel for me. They picked me up and the driver drove pretty safely on the ring road. When he got onto the smaller streets, he almost ran over a moped though…he also rolled down the window at one point, I thought it was to let in some breeze, but no, it was so he could spit – standard China.
I went back to the airport via the shuttle in the morning to pick up a guy who’s also on the same scholarship as me and we made our way to Jinhua. It was a nice journey with no slipups and I also got some free popcorn from a boy on the train in as I was teaching him English words (popcorn and elephant are the only ones he grasped). He was looking out for the sea (he hadn’t seen it before) and every bit of water he’d ask his Mum if it’s the sea. He was most disappointed when she said, “no son, it’s another river”. At one point he described a place to me (in Chinese), it was either Mars or hell.
Today I went to the office to register, then I went for a walk around campus. It was 11.30am and I hadn’t had anything to eat yet, so stopped a passing student and asked her where there is somewhere to eat, because I can’t eat in the canteen yet. I was expecting her to just tell me where to go, but she insisted on walking with me to a little corridor with some small eating places. She then walked into one and ordered “beef and rice”, I thought she was ordering me dinner and then leaving.
But then she asked me what I’m eating, so I just said “chicken and rice” and paid £1. She took her tray of food and ushered me to follow her upstairs to eat. It all happened so quickly, I didn’t realise what she was doing, so I didn’t tell her there was no need for her to eat with me. I felt quite embarrassed. Then, as we were eating, she was quite shy so I asked her lots of questions, about where she’s from, what she’s studying, what music she likes etc. I asked if her meal was tasty, she replied
Now anyone who’s been in China, or knows something about Chinese culture will know that 还可以 (it’s ok) means that the person doesn’t like it, and they’re only saying something positive because they can’t directly say that they don’t like it.
When we finished, I turned right and she turned left. I thought if I let her go away, I’ll probably never see her again. So I asked her if she wanted my Wechat ID (China’s best social media app) and she said ok. I sent her a message saying, “it was nice to meet you!” but no reply yet. So not only did I waste 20 minutes of her time, I also made her eat food she didn’t like and then (what feels like) harrassed her with an unwanted message.
Later on, as I was wandering around, I felt the heat was unbearable. I don’t like wearing hats, as I usually have my hair in a high ponytail, so decided to do as the Chinese do, and bought myself a parasol, for £1.50, do you like it?