03/19/11

And they forced me to leave my home

After spending my first spring in a dorm at the campus I wanted to have a real home. I rented a small apartment, meaning one room, from the nearby village and quickly started to call it home. I loved the place for many reasons. I could cook Finnish food, I had a big roof to host barbecue evenings, lots of shops just behind the corner and a feeling of place that is mine (Well, ours because I live together with my boyfriend).

But after half a year there the police found out and weren’t happy. Police thinks that it’s not safe for foreigners live in the villages like that, but I think that there must be some other reason. Maybe they just want to prevent any extra work that I might cause them by living like the locals? I did my best to get to know how common Chinese people live and joined their neighborhood, but it seems to be too much for the authorities.

So little bit over a week ago my teacher told me about this and that I had two choises. To move back to dorm or find another apartment away from the university island. I first started looking for apartments and found a lovely area near Sun Yat Sen University where I will hopefully start my bachelor degree next September. But then in the end after listening to my boyfriend, and especially my mom, I decided to come back to the dorm.

And here I am. Living in this tiny room with all of my stuff. Well, part of it is in the storage room, because this “apartment” is less than ten square meters. And I share a bathroom with my roommate, that is nice and quiet. This absolutely isn’t home and I feel kind of homeless right now. At the same time I heard that I didn’t got the internship for summer that I was hoping for. The reason is that my university back in Finland don’t give me money to do the internship because I didn’t apply for it in advance. Also this work place can’t hire anyone for free. So no home, and no plans for next summer.

My unplanned plan is to stay in the dorm atleast until I go back to Finland in May. After that I may come back and continue studying here until the term in over in July. But I am still looking for a job for summer. This might be the only time before graduating that I would have almost three months time to work. At the latest I will start looking my new home in July. I now know from what area I want the apartment and also have a better understanding of the rents.

But still I miss my first real home here in China. It’s just one kilometer away from here, but feels like a long way. I don’t like other people messing up with my plans, but now I don’t have any other choice. My mom and dad also both send me messages that do not argue with the police. Of course I never would but in my mind I’m not pleased.

Have the authorities in China messed up with your plans?

03/6/11

My attempt to fight the negativity

During my first year in China I met and studied with lots of people suffering from culture shock. A few never got it, most of people recovered after some time and for some it was too much. With this post I don’t want to criticize anyone and it’s completely natural to feel frustrated when moving to China from Europe for example. Everything is different and getting used to new life style isn’t easy.

I am not sure did I suffer from culture shock or not. The first months were good and then I went to Finland for summer vacation. When I came back to Guangzhou I suddenly didn’t want to go out by my self. I felt people were staring at me too much and I spent hours to think should I go to the grocery store or not. I just wanted to stay in the comfort of my home. After two weeks that was luckily over and new term started at the university.

As an exchange student I’m surrounded with people that stay in China only for a short time. I’ve met many new people in the past year and saw how they got through their culture shock. Usually people complain about the differences they see and everything different is usually seen worse than in her/his homecountry. It’s not that the one guy in the metro was disgusting, it’s that the whole Chinese population is disgusting. I have heard terrible things being said about China and Chinese.

Of course many things are frustrating to me too and it’s sometimes hard to cope with them. I don’t like spitting or picking nose in public. I don’t like people cutting in line and being rude to me. But I try my best to think why Chinese people are behaving as they are. I also try to keep in mind that this is China and what ever is considered good/bad in Finland, doesn’t ably here. I’m not the one to decide what is right or wrong in Guangzhou.

But negativity spreads too easily. Many times I listen foreigners’ complaints and nod my head. It is easier to agree than to try to defend local folk’s behaviour. It is easy to join the rant because I feel frustrated too. I can also very well understand where all the criticising comes from. But there is a limit too and choose to stay quiet when people get too far with their negativity towards Chinese people and China.

While writing Why I Love Living In China? I wanted to make a list of all the good things in China, but failed badly. I just couldn’t come up with a list long enough. I was quite scared to realise that and thought have I really get used to living in China or not. But then I also noticed that even I can’t write a long list, I still enjoy living here. Maybe that is good enough.

What about you? Do you enjoy complaining about China or are you the one with everlasting patience and understanding? Does other people’s negativity affect you?

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