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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Most street artists I see here are disabled in some way. Too bad that on average they aren’t that good…

Did I already tell you about the security checks at the subway stations? It’s like at the airport: you have to put your bags through the scanner. Well, officially… At least half of the people just walk by. In the beginning I nodded friendly to the security guard and walked through, now I find myself walking by without even looking at them. It must be an awful job when you have to tell people to put their bags in the scanner all day long, while most of them just simply ignore you.

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Hierarchy in the university is very important, but I think it is really part of the Chinese traditions. ‘Flat’ organizations like we might have in Western offices are not common here I think.

At university you can see it clearly, also outside of the office. Besides the large dining rooms there are a few small staff restaurants. At some students are not allowed, at some you have separate queue lines for staff and students. So the students are welcome here, but they might have to wait longer.

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Below is a compilation of the things I noticed regarding the people here. Hope you will enjoy!

You guys probably know I’m not the biggest fan of kids, but I have seen something really cute in the metro today that includes a small kid. An older man with a little kid and next to them probably the kid’s big brother or uncle. The kid was really quiet and sometimes he just pulled strange faces to his brother/uncle and at some point even to me. It really was one of the cutest things I’ve seen so far.

My roommate told me she’s always surprised about the level of facial expression and body language foreigners use while talking. Chinese people do not have that much facial expression, making it even harder to understand them. On the other hand, an old man in the nearby supermarket made it very clear that he thought I was very tall by just using big eyes and a simple hand gesture.

I noticed a girl across from me with skin as silk who ate her noodle soup in the most gracious way. When she looked up, her appearance was pretty normal, but when she looked down at her food she truly was the most beautiful creature in the restaurant.

On campus I spotted a couple in love. The smile of the boy was so huge that even when the sun isn’t shining, his girl would be in the spotlight.

I noticed something similar in Holland, but now I know for sure: about half of the Chinese people are wearing glasses. Of the other half at least part wears contacts, so who knows how little of the people here are not visually impaired?! Why is that? Is it in their genes?

My roommate apparently talks about me with her friends. Heard from her sister that she’s a bit amazed on how I experience life, how I can act so crazy, but also that she’s fascinated about it. I showed her some videos of Salsa, Bachata and Zouk and even though she’s pretty shy, you could see her eyes starting to shine. She really wants to learn how to dance. I think in general she wants to experience life more and doesn’t want to be shy anymore. I’m certain she has it in her (she already joined me on the dance floor once, will not be the last time), she just needs someone to lead the way. Let’s see what we can accomplish.

Why are Chinese people so small (on average)? I think it might be evolutionary. They bow over their food in such a way it will be simply more difficult when they’re tall.

People don’t seem to be in a hurry when they’re walking. They walk pretty slowly and you rarely see a Chinese in a hurry. Then why is it that at the moment they step into the car everybody seems to be in a hurry?

When getting breakfast in a little store close by, I got laughed at when I said thank you. What?!

The girls here can eat properly, but some of the guys are really disgusting eaters. Are they raised differently? According to the PhD student in our lab (had a really nice long chat with him over dinner, about pretty much everything), the difference in eating habits between boys and girls is a traditional thing. Of course it is, but who says you cannot change that?

The spitting habit here is also worse by the man, although some women, especially the older ones, ate at least as bad. Dutch farmers could learn a thing or two from these old ladies!

There are supposed to be a bunch of international students at our campus. Then how come in 3 weeks I’ve only seen 3 white guys?! One in our building and two ‘in the wild’. I haven’t seen anything other than Chinese people here. Also at lunchtime or dinnertime in the restaurants, I haven’t seen ANYONE not Asian! Where do they hide??

In the first three weeks I’m here I noticed I didn’t see any fat people. They differ in height, but are almost always skinny. You see the occasional somewhat older man that might lose a couple of pounds, but that’s it. Today I saw the first really big boy. He was big in every way! He must have serious problems to find clothes here that fit him. And all the rest will be too small for him too. But still, obesity apparently isn’t very common here (or I’m blind). Will that have something to do with the diet here?

They do not only push you in the metro if you don’t move fast enough, they also run out of it to be the first one on the escalator or something. Funny sight.

I heard about people wanting to pay the bill here, but now I’ve seen it in action. When they (apparently) decided to and take the remaining food home (or wherever), the almost seriously fought over who could pay the bill! Amazing…

People still smoke in bars here. They do try to encourage them not to, but that clearly doesn’t work.

Now that I saw the first big guy, I’ve seen a few more (something about sheep and dams…?) Still not so much though. Have to day I saw some big young kids, I really hope that they will grow out of it when they get older, you don’t want to think about the future of this country if everybody got twice as big. There are simply too many people here for that! And the houses are way too small. Later my roommate told me she was a chubby kid as well, and she clearly got over that, so there’s hope for these kids.

It’s not even the spitting itself so much; it is the awful noise they make to collect the spit, like it’s coming from their toes!

There are lots of people everywhere on any time! Where do they all come from?

In Holland they always say the Chinese cannot pronounce the letter ‘r’, but replace it with the letter ‘l’ (“witte lijst elbij meneel?”). You know what? Chinese speaking English do exactly the opposite!