Top 10 Achievements thus far

Trip Start Oct 05, 2009
1
6
35
Trip End Mar 28, 2010


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Flag of China  , Beijing,
Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The following is a list of the top 10 personal accomplishments which I feel to be significant and have only occurred as a result of moving here thus far.

10.  Increased resistance to spicy foods
While most people underestimate the importance of this skill, I am steadily appreciating how nice spicy food can be.  Historically I've been trained with both Eastern and Western spices from the US from the strongest curries to the tear-inducing jalapenos... but with some food, I've seriously never seen so many dried peppers in one dish.  Sichuan, we salute you.

9.  Bilingual business cards
As I was looking forward to the move, I thought that bilingual business cards were awesome.  Chinese on one side, English on the other.  Just got my set the other day and they're my favorite.

8.  Hosted a couchsurfer from Scotland
Something that I've been getting into more is Couchsurfing.  It's where you can meet different travelers around the world and host them in your city.  The same goes for other cities that you visit... they may be able to host you.  It's a great to meet people and, of course, requires a lot of trust but this is where common sense and street smarts come in too to select the right people.  I like practicing hospitality and also helps me to realize how unique it is to be here and avoid being sensitized to the place because someone can notice new things which you never thought about before. 


7.  Smooth taxi rides

Probably the most unsettling feeling is sitting in a taxi trusting that the person is taking you to where you just asked.  At this point, I have a good sense of direction and judgment of the city layout.  It's now good enough to be able to correct someone if he's going the wrong way or can estimate the prices based on distance to see if I have been ripped off. 


6.  Finding a good dictionary
Communication is always an important aspect of life.  And as I had in mind to improve as much as possible, getting a dictionary that I would be excited to use and happy with was key.  Recently, I got the Besta MT-7000.  Look it up if you are interested (and have the budget for it).  I am really pleased with it so far and have no shame in giving it a short plug here.

5.  "I'm from South China"
One thing I am quite proud of is hiding my puedo-authentic Chinese.  A high percentage are now guessing Shanghai, Hong Kong, or Singapore.  I bet if I start using the slangs they will be even more confused, haha.

4.  Not just a tourist...
I am just starting to not feel like a tourist here.  I am not fumbling with which bills to pay with and what denominations certain coins are, etc.  Each week, I am developing a rhythm of where to eat, going to work and to the gym.  It's more and more like a home and less like an extended vacation.  Yesterday, I went to a local concert (well, it was a German artist called Clueso who had a sweet performance, btw) but it made me felt like I had discovered something beyond what normal visitors would.  This was the same feeling I got when I went ice skating at a place in Zurich once.

3.  Eating like a local
By now, my stomach seems strong enough to handle most of the foods here.  I was lucky enough not to have any real problems and have been enjoying the food so far.  Every week, I am trying new foods and eating at new restaurants... it's quite amazing.

2.  Presenting a PPT in Chinese
At work, we recently had a division-wide marketing meeting involving multiple cities via video conference.  Since the top managers were European, they obviously preferred English and therefore, our discussion group wanted myself ("the native speaker") to share our results.  But little did they know that our managers would be leaving before the presentations.  This meant, that now it didn't make sense to present in English... but I was already selected.  My manager said to do my best and insert English words where I was not sure and it turned out pretty good.  For less than 5 min worth of preparation, I felt very accomplished with my presentation which had about 75% Chinese and 25% English.

and the best accomplishment...

1.  Befriending locals and expats
Some of my biggest concerns of coming was who I would meet.  So far, I've met some really cool people (locals and expats).  It seems like there is always something going on and someone to hang out with.  This, I am very grateful for.  For all those readers looking to visit China, come!
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Comments

kathrinev
kathrinev on

It is snowing there already... hmm. i had no concept of what the weather might be like! As for business cards... I am in the process of making many of them, and have looked at lots of bilingual examples...very nice!

James on

You should start a food diary =)

jetsedder
jetsedder on

@ kathrinev... ooh, cool! lemme know when you have business cards. i want to see them!

@ James... hmm i did think about having an entry entirely on food. but i still am eating err i mean, thinking about it a bit more. =)

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