In 2008 and 2009 I spent 1.5 years studying Chinese at Tongji University in Shanghai. This is my way to China, these are my experiences in Shanghai.
I arrive in China on page 15.
Looking for a room, I visited the apartment of an old woman today. I could rent a room for 1500 Yuan and use bathrooms, kitchen, living room with her and another person that might move in. The good thing: She doesn’t speak either German or English so I’d be forced to learn Chinese. And she asked if I could cook and when I said not Chinese food, she said she could. The apartment also looks very nice and the price is good. But what if someone wants to visit me or I come home late?
Today I got my Chinese books and had to sign with my Chinese name: 马德. The first one means “horse”, the second one “kindness”, “morality” or “virtue” and is also used for German things: 德国 = Germany, 德国人 = German (person), …
I could only write the first sign so they painted both and I tried to imitate them. To make sure it’s readable they repeated “德” in brackets…
First time in another part of Shanghai. No debris, dirt and construction sites. Instead: Nice streets with trees, little houses and great clubs. We’ve been to four of them.
I just learned that I have to pay when someone calls me because the costs are shared. (The headline is just a joke, calls are very cheap here.)
Here’s a text from a German exam in China. It explains why Germans like women with darker skin while Chinese prefere those with a lighter tone.
But my favorite is still this dialog from a textbook:
A: Hello, Mr. Muller. B: Hello, Mrs. Krug. A: How are you? B: Good, thank you. A: Really? B: Yes, everything’s ok. A: Really? B: Yes, I am very well. A: Aha. B: Wonderful. A: Aaah. B: Yes, life is so beautiful.
I think I start to feel the consequences. Or why does my right elbow hurt as well as my right jaw?
They seem to like uniforms here. For me, they all look the same, a bit unreal, like carnival and it’s hard to say if the person in the uniform is a policeman, a parking lot attendant or the member of a private security company. Yesterday we tried to register at the local police station which was very hard to find because it looks like that:
On my way home from school I went through the old Chinese streets when a ranting man walked towards me. One minute later I think I saw the reason for his anger: A truck and a digger that seemed to tear down one of the old houses or clear away the debris. There was so much police around. Twenty persons or more. And a crowd of Chinese people watching. One of them made some signs with his hands as if he wanted me to take a picture. The others looked at me as if I was very welcome and they were eager to find out what I’d do. I thought why not, stepped back a bit and took this picture before a policeman made me leave:
At first I thought this would be a mixture of a razor with an mp3 player though it looks more like a vacuum cleaner on this picture:
A Chinese friend told me it definitely is a razor but I still don’t get it.
Unfortunately we didn’t eat there. But thanks to my Chinese friend I finally got something without meat, fish, …: