What to do?

Since this is an era of typing instead of writing, I sit behind my computer desk with not an exactly blank screen, but getting close. What to write about today? Actually, I have no idea. Or I actually have a bit too many ideas. That is okay, it is how I spend most of my life. Not actually knowing what to do.

Is that a bad thing? Well, in this day and age where we can plan everything, most people seem to want to have more surprise and wonder in their life. For the Chinese, this feeling seems to be less prominent, probably because people think more short-term (see my previous Dutch post on this topic). Furthermore, moving to a different country is quite a good measure to experience more wonder and amazement. What makes it even more fun, is that in my case it is mutual.

Whenever I exchange more than 3 sentences with a Chinese person, it goes something like this:

/Hi, you are Chinese?

\I count as a foreigner I guess…

/Are you from Hong Kong or Taiwan?

\No, I am not. Do another guess.

/Japan? Korea? Vietnam?

\No I am from Europe, from the Netherlands.

/Really? You do not look Dutch at all!

\Well… Actually I was born in China.

/So your parents are Chinese?

\No, my parents are Dutch.

/But do you speak Chinese at home?

\No, my parents are Dutch.

/Are your parents in China?

\No, my parents are in the Netherlands.

/Is your family in China?

\No, my family is Dutch and in China.

/But you are Chinese.

\No, I am Dutch.

/But you speak Chinese.

\Well, I studied it for more than 5 years so yes.

/Do you speak Chinese with your parents?

\No, they are Dutch.

/But it is great that you returned to China and speak Chinese now! You are Chinese from the inside after all.

\Uhm… No not really though…

So what does this tell us?

  1. Chinese automatically assume everyone who looks like them to probably be like them. Sort of like the opposite of what we have in the Netherlands, where everyone who looks different is assumed to probably be a foreigner.
  2. It is difficult for both parties to grasp each other’s world views and background. How is a Chinese-looking person not identifying as Chinese and not knowing all the Chinese poems and songs? How do the Chinese not see and realize I am not a Chinese person and am quite different from them, more so inside than outside though?
  3. In China, I am seen as a Chinese which I am not. In the Netherlands, I am seen as a foreigner which I am not.

Enough everyday wonder and amazement for me while living in China. You should try it too, honestly I can only recommend it.

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