Life of a Dutchie

It's all about me, what I'm doing, where I'm going, what I'm thinking, what I shouldn't be thinking…


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At the metro stop you have designated places where to stand so the door will be just in front of you. You really have to keep your spot there, because people do sometimes try to get yours. When it’s crowded, the metro arrives and the doors open, chances are you’re pushed inside if you’re not fast enough! There are not so many seats, so everyone wants to get in quickly and gets a seat. Again, not only true in traffic, but also in the public transportation: survival of the quickest (and boldest)!

In the building I work you get thanked for riding the elevator!

In the Chinese subways you also have musicians that try to make a buck. Seen one so far: a guitarist/singer. I thought he was pretty ok, but according to my roommate this was just so so. Now I’m already wondering how great the next one will be!

As far as I know it is custom around the world to make room when you hear/see an ambulance coming, am I right? Well, in China it is not. Witnessed an ambulance with the siren and the lights trying to cross the crossroad. It took them forever! People really do not make way for them. Nice thing to know if you’re bleeding out somewhere…

One of the students, the tallest guy, told me (he’s so much chattier if it’s just the two of us) that every Chinese student should pass their English exam. It includes reading, writing and listening (so no speaking). He failed that exam already a few times (no wonder he’s too shy to talk English with me in front of others). Last Saturday he had to take it again, hope he passes. If not, I already promised hi to write to and talk with him often, so he will pass the next time. They all have to speak proper English by the time that I leave (well… preferably before that).

The difference between he and she doesn’t exist in the Chinese language. So you never know whether you will meet a man or a woman when they’re talking about someone. It could go either way.

I saw Fierljeppen on Chinese television at the subway on December 21st. Is this what they meant by the end of the world?

You would think that having internet, a Chinese bank account with online banking and Google translate (and/or Google Chrome) would be enough to be able to shop online. Well, it’s not. No, I’m lying; the shopping part is doable with Google. The part where you have to pay is not. I tried it earlier and I got transferred to online banking and that went fine until I had to install something which didn’t want to work. For some reason I couldn’t find this option again the next time (well, it didn’t work anyway), so I had to set up a paying account for the online shop. After about one hour and several calls to the service phone by my office mate I’m one step closer. Let’s wait and see how it turns out.

It’s seriously too cold to shower in the morning. My roommate even seriously thinks that if she showers in the morning and eat cold foot in the winter, like us foreigners do, she will get sick.

At the subway stations you have some choices: you either take the stairs, the escalator or the elevator. Sometimes there’s also a slope. This choice is handy for older people, lazy people and people carrying a lot of stuff. So far I noticed one exception when transferring from line 1 to line 9. You have to walk a bit, you have slopes, stairs and escalators, so far no problem. But at the end you have to take the stairs of about 10 steps before you can again choose between the stairs or escalator. Somehow I’m missing the logic here…

In the metro you have rules for passengers: passenger regulations. No smoking, no littering, something that looked like ‘no bending’ from a distance but appeared to be ‘no begging’ and no spitting. Thank god for that last one! I can only imagine what it would look like otherwise…

When they announce in the metro that the next stop will be the terminal station they start playing some music after that message. Sometimes soft and easygoing, mostly loud and very noisy. Then you really want to leave the metro!

Victory! I was finally able to make AND pay an order online!

New Year’s day (the regular one) is also a holiday here. To enjoy it to the fullest, you get Monday off as well. The only catch is that you do have to work on Saturday. That’s the Chinese way.


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