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People in China

WHY CHINA IS SPECIAL TO ME – REASON#4

People are every country’s greatest asset, aren’t they?

I know Chinese people can be overwhelming at times, but that is not a reason to turn down the opportunity to get to know this wonderful nation.

Chinese people are very helpful, cheerful, hospitable and amiable. Yes, it is easier if you can speak the language, but even if you don’t, you would be able to notice their positive attitude towards life. They would be happy to show you the road (mind, though, they would do so even if they are not sure how to get there themselves), make a picture for you and even happier if you can make a picture with them instead.

If you want to feel like a star – come to China. You would be let into places without queues, you would be allocated the best seats & and you would be watched. All the time. Locals pay to enter clubs, but for foreigners they are free because it makes the place “more international” & “prestigious”. As a foreigner, you will be the centre of attention wherever you go. Even more so if you’re tall, blond and have fair complexion.

Don’t feel beautiful when you’re sick? Just come to China. One time, when I was recovering from flu & barely got any sleep, I went out to get some food in my baggy home clothes with a messy hairdo on my head and can you guess what I heard? “Oh, you look so nice today!” So yeah, being pale as death and having black circles under your eyes is beautiful in China. Well, mostly the “pale” part, but still.

Not sure if it’s a good or bad thing, but I totally stopped using makeup in China, as you kinda stop caring about small details like that. I like that people in China do not take note of your appearance; they won’t judge you regardless of your nationality, look or behaviour habits and that is beautiful – it is something we all should learn!

Chinese people are active. And they stay active for their whole life. People of all ages enjoy ping pong and badminton; they play mahjong or chess outside their houses or stores they work in; they practice tai chi, kung fu, taijiquan or dance routines in the parks and spacious areas in front of malls. And how amazing are those fitness equipment playgrounds in every courtyard? Even their vacations are active – they like walking and hiking, they don’t just spend the entire time in the hotel or on the beach, they explore the area and try to learn more.

They always try to exceed in what they do. That became especially noticeable during one winter holiday for me. My friends and I went mountain skiing and met a lot of more mature and experienced athletes, who were not there to have fun, but to practices their skills. I even asked one man why didn’t he ski from the top and his answer was that steep slopes are not suitable for perfecting the right technic.

It is easy to have conversations with people here. I always discover something new and interesting about their culture (like the fact that they are more familiar with my own country’s history than I am, which is actually rather embarrassing). One time my cab driver was able to recall all of the USSR leader’s names in a correct sequence. Even those that were in the post for just a few months. I, myself, for sure won’t be able to name them in the chronological order even if I’ll be able to recall all of them at all. Which is really a shame since there weren’t that many to start with. Makes me think I need to catch up on my own country’s history when I’ll get a chance…

Making friends among these people won’t require any strain or effort (provided you’re being nice and friendly; it’s difficult to make friends in any country if you’re rude I would imagine). For as long as your friendship lasts they will be loyal and they won’t have a problem in going an extra mile to help people they like and care for.

In any case, Chinese people have a long and interesting history, traditions that are worth learning about and embracing and views of life that can give you a fresh perspective. They are tolerant, knowledgeable, kind, they are very respectful (maybe not always in our sense of way) and dutiful. They might not be as flexible as we want them to be, but that doesn’t mean they are not resourceful; they might not always do things our way, but who said our way is better?

I understand that a lot of things are circumstantial and the circle of people you meet will depend on the time and place, but my advice is to go and see for yourself, to make friends and to build bridges.

Always yours,

Tatiana