主办:中共广州市委宣传部

GZ TODAYLiving in GZ

East greets west

www.guangzhou.gov.cn2005年5月14日 07:41:17

  Shopping bags laden with western food goodies-Kellogg’s Cornflakes, Edam cheese, Dairy Milk chocolate- and as many English newspapers and magazines that my sturdy backpack permits, I clamber on board the bus back to Zhaoqing.

  Six months ago I was a newly arrived foreign teacher, unable to wander alone and around my temporary home of Zhaoqing. Now I’m able to confidently take the two-hour bus journey to Guangzhou and spend the day by myself, with no problems at all. Well, how to choose which food goodies to bring back might be a small problem! How, I wonder, as I gape out of the window at the passing night skyline, have I achieved this confidence?

  You may think it takes a lot of confidence to travel halfway around the 新闻图片world, away from family, friends and familiarity for a year, but that was easy compared to my first shopping experience in Zhaoqing.

  As a woman I’m almost programmed to enjoy shopping, but it means more than that to me. Back in England I would go shopping every day, even if only “window-shopping”. The first time I went shopping alone in Zhaoqing I was convinced I’d never be able to luxuriate in my favourite past-time ever again, well at least not until I was safely back in England. A Chinese student had to accompany me to buy groceries and cleaning provisions, never mind indulging in an hour’s shoe shopping by myself!

  I couldn’t understand anything that was being spoken, no prices were displayed anywhere, and besides which, I was still trying to get used to the currency conversion. All I could do was point and nod mutely.

  Once I began to adapt, and yes, discover how inexpensive China was compared to England, I began to grow in confidence. I started to venture downtown with the other foreign teachers whom I’d met. We had each other and some Chinese language phrasebooks, but no Chinese students or Chinese teachers amongst us.

  How distant those days now seem, I think, as I glance at the packages I’ve purchased today: English novels I’ll devour quickly and pass along to the other foreign teachers, American cheesecake that will tantalize the taste buds of my sweet-toothed friends.

  Of course, I am rarely alone in China. Even if there are no westerners close by, there is very often a Chinese person ready to speak English with me. This morning, for example, I wandered around Victory Plaza trying to find the toilet. Before I’ve even begun to realize I’m lost, I hear a friendly voice ask, “Washroom? This way, please.” How did she correctly know what I was searching for?

  “Special offer on cheese- buy the chocolate milk free.” Greets the friendly assistant in the western supermarket. I don’t mind the unusual grammar. I’m an English teacher; I know how difficult it is to speak a second language with confidence. I am more interested in the art of communication, but am keen to speak with any Chinese person who initiates conversation. Communication plays an important role in developing confidence.

  As I watch the skyline of Tianhe and the surrounding district close behind me, I’m eagerly gorging on the sights of the metropolis. I feel like I’m in a powerful painting, whose combined themes are Futurism and Renaissance, such is the fusion that gives life to this sprawling city. Spherical additions to most of the skyscrapers greet me, and my western eye associates these images with Chinese geomancy. In all of this hectic modernization is harmony and balance.

  I have never before traveled to Asia. As a native Briton I have more exposure to Europe and North America. It is only hindsight that makes me consider it was more likely arrogance than confidence which enabled me to undertake the trip to China in the first place. It is only since living in China that I have truly developed confidence in my abilities and myself.

  Three-tier roads steaming with four lanes of traffic are unheard of in my home city of Manchester and I wish the windows of the bus would curve in to allow me panoramic views of the disappearance of Tianhe. I must make do with rotating my head 180 degrees so that I don’t miss a thing. But in this vastness it’s inevitable, or bamboo scaffolding reminds me that this city will have probably changed its cityscape the next time I return.

  Neon flashes on almost every building, as I leave the city, drawing my attention further in, making me wonder what new experiences await me on my next visit. I settle back in my seat to listen to my newly acquired MP3 player, which I procured with my variety of communication methods, and smile: I can’t wait until reture!

(编辑: 邹丽娜 )

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