19 Jul Love Living in Shanghai
I love ancient Chinese history and how it influences the culture today. Thats one of the main reasons that I chose to study Chinese in School. This being my second time in China, I thought I could say that I would be used to it by now. I was wrong. I will admit that there is a big difference between Guangzhou Culture and Shanghai Culture. The two cities are in two different provinces and two different sub-cultures. The difference is also the tourist culture. Shanghai is more of an International City. The Shanghai native people are used to people from different nations. This being there are some very big similarities.
Being an 6ft African American Man in China, there are some things that you have to deal with. Things such as people staring at you, people avoiding you, and children wanting to touch your hair. Now as a 6ft African American Male who speaks and understands Mandarin Chinese, there’s a whole new set of things that you notice. You start hearing people call you “外国人” (Wàiguó rén) which means “Foreigner” or “Alien”. You start to realize what people are saying about you as they stare at you.
On the other hand, after all of the pointing and laughing I can come right up to them and say: “我叫不外国人，我叫王丹” (Wǒ jiào bù Wàiguó rén, Wǒ jiào Wáng Dān) which means “My name is not Foreigner, my name is Dan King.” The look of shock on their face is rewarding enough. Also, as many people in Shanghai that point and whisper, there are just as many who are excited to help me practice my Mandarin. That’s the beauty of immersing yourself in a new culture. Participating in the cultures societal norms, good or bad.
I love living in Shanghai. The city has opened up so many opportunities for me. All of the connections that I have made while here are connections I believe will be beneficial in the future. This trip not only have confirmed that I want to work in China someday, but also confirmed that I KNOW I can live in Shanghai one day.