One day, I had Chinese food with a Scottish friend, he said: “It is weird, in China, everyone seemed very kind to me; a girl brought me snacks whenever I needed. However, in Melbourne, I can’t get that feeling; Chinese are cold and keep to themselves.”
“Well, I agree, probably after living in Melbourne for many years, we are used to westerns; they are no longer special to us.”
ECNU in Shanghai
In my late 20s, I had English course in ECNU, Shanghai.
Though I was married and had a daughter, I was still naive as I have never left parents since I was born.
It was like living in an ivory tower, I was shy, and my face would turn red if I talked to a stranger, let alone Westerners.
Holding the dream to be an overseas student one day, I was very excited if there was a foreigner on campus, they were mysterious, and I was full of curiosity about their lives.
I couldn’t tell there’s a difference the appearance and personality between westerners. They are all the same; one person represents a western world.
20 years ago, there was no internet, no email, no Wechat and no Facebook; it was very hard to find a native English speaker to talk.
One day, while I was practicing speaking English by myself on campus, a group of Chinese students was chatting with a western man.
I walked towards them: “May I join you, please? “You’re welcome.”
He’s an American. He seemed like a movie start in the Uni; he was always in the center of attention among a group of Chinese students.
It was not easy for me to catch up with him, but I was very curious about the life in America-my dream world.
One day, I bumped into him, and I was full of imagination with excitement.
I spoke very slowly with broken English; I couldn’t understand him at all; I could only pick up one word: “God.” Finally, I got him after he slowed down: “Do you believe in God?” I answered: “No.”
That was an amazing experience. Eventually, I talked with a western guy face-to-face which was like in the dream, that’s the first time I used English as a communication tool.
Summer holiday in Chisholm
In 2003, as an overseas student, I felt lonely after arriving Australia at the end of the semester, because no one would like to talk to me, everyone was busy preparing exams.
My listening was awful; I couldn’t understand the conversation of Aussies, especially Indian accent was very hard to follow.
One day, a Singapore lady told me: “Hey, the Italian floor mate said you were cute.” “Really?” I smiled: “It is nice to hear.”
The lady was curious: “Why you left when the Italian guy asked you to wait as he would like to show you something?”
“Sorry, I didn’t understand what he was talking about.”
During the summer holiday, I was trying to practice English with the only Aussie man on our floor, but he seemed cold and didn’t like talk with me because of my poor English.
Obviously, we had difficulties in cultural understanding, he’s just a first-year Uni student, and I was new to Australia.
He tried to connect my internet and asked me to knock at his door; I thought he should knock at my door when he was free.
But I waited and waited, he didn’t come, I was confused: “What’s wrong with this guy?”
Now, I know, he’s in a polite manner, culture shock caused misunderstanding.
When I spoke to him, he tried to find a Taiwanese to be our translator; then I didn’t get an opportunity to improve speaking English.
How disappointing!!! Why no one interested in talking with me?
To be a student in Latrobe Uni
When the semester started, my language center friend, a Japanese student Yutaka moved into my floor, and Aussie Sam followed him to be our neighbor.
Sam is a talkative man, and he’s also very interested in Chinese culture. He knows Confucius more than me.
When I entered into the kitchen at dinner time, “What’s the smell”? Sam was cooking fried Tofu, and he used to have a big bowl of rice mixed with sauce soy on a daily basis.
He’s quite different from typical Aussies. Compared to lots of local students who are the beer lover, Sam enjoys talking and be a good listener.
I was very lucky, if we were free, Sam, Yutaka and I would like to sit in the kitchen and talk.
During that time, my speaking English has been improved dramatically.
Moreover, Sam is an excellent writer. Unfortunately, in recent years, we have almost lost contact, both Sam and Yutaka moved to other cities.
At my workplace
After that I worked in an Aussie run company, I heard stories from Aussie colleagues 8 hours a day, I am very familiar with the life of locals.
I am also making friends from all over the world; I can communicate with them very well.
But then I got bored, gradually, I lost the interest of discovering a mystery world as excited as the time I was in China.
In my eyes, Aussies are as usual as Chinese; now I only wanna make friends with people who has similar interests, who can understand and support each other mentally.
The funny thing was when I started English writing, I am becoming unique, there are so many people wanna talk with me, but I am too busy to afford the time.
I do love making new friends; I prefer face to face communication rather than texting.
Enjoy the journey as much as you can
I totally agree happiness is a journey, on the way, you meet friendly people and experience interesting things, once it reaches the peak; it’s over.
Therefore, I am starting a new journey –writing, so far so good, I feel like the time in China, which is full of expectation and curiosity.
No hurry, friends, please just enjoy the journey whichever stage you are at the moment, the end is usually less as excited as you imagined.
Please don't wait for someone else change your life; there's no joy because you will miss out the beautiful view on your way towards the top of the mountain.
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