Mmegi Online :: My amazing year in China
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Last Updated
Friday 23 February 2018, 16:00 pm.
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My amazing year in China

Arriving in the city of Beijing, China on that cold evening of February 22, 2017 gave me the chills. So many thoughts ran through my mind and I wondered what I got myself into.
By Mpho Mokwape Fri 19 Jan 2018, 15:27 pm (GMT +2)
Mmegi Online :: My amazing year in China








Coming from a hot country as ours, you can understand why I had to question my decision. The city was extremely cold that night that I still remember it so vividly. Let's just say that was a feeling we all have or experience, especially when we step into an unknown territory where we are not sure what to expect, more so when your whole life you have carried misconceptions about such a place.

China moves with a speed of light. That is the culture. Chinese people are time conscious and normally they don’t walk around as if they just received bad news. They are so fast that one has not choice but to adapt to their ways.

I remember one time a friend visited me while I was there. We decided to explore the city. Well, let's just say by the time we got home I was told that I was walking like I was running the whole time when in actual fact we were just walking. That is typically how Chinese walk on a daily basis. No fooling around.

Culture shock happens to the best of us, but for others it can be a bit extreme and confusing, especially if you are the one shocking people.

For instance, the Chinese people are still new to the idea of seeing black people. It could be because the country has minimal interaction with the outside world, so seeing blackness is a tantalising mystery deserving curious stares.

What do you say when people in big cities like Beijing still get amazed at the sight of a black person? You can't begin to imagine the smaller cities and remote areas! It reminds me of this one time we travelled to a remote village thousands of kilometers away from the city where we literally had to run for our dear lives.

We had intended to explore the village. But when we got there, we ran into a group of people dancing at a mall. We regretted going out on that particular day. We became the centre of the show. People pulled us left, right and centre, wanting to take pictures or dance with us. It became really exhausting until we decided to retreat for the night.

What we did not expect was the whole village following us, surrounding us until we got to our hotel, and staying there for a while before they dispersed. It was hectic.

That is just how most Chinese people

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react when they see a black person and they get really fascinated when a lady has braids on or natural hair.

That is not the only shocking thing about China. The one thing I found mostly annoying was how people can spit everywhere without any care.

Disgusting as it is, most Chinese people do it anywhere, anyhow without even minding the people around. My almost year stay in China was not an all round negative experience.

The food, for instance, in China is everything. Chinese people respect their food so much and each province has its own identity dish.

The Chinese literally eat almost everything and one needs to be careful and thoroughly ask questions before eating. At one point we came across a jar and inside there was a visible snake, the content of the jar was snake wine. A snake wine, we were told, also carried medicinal value. Of course the explanation did not motivate any of us to drink the wine.

To the Chinese people something is either food or medicine meaning everything has a value to them. No wonder they live longer than most nations.

They take pride in taking care of themselves through nutritious food and traditional medicine especially with every meal served with tea.

China is culture conscious. They guard it jealously, and that is why all social networks of the outside world are blocked and they used their own interaction platforms. Pretty much the citizens normally referred as the ‘netizens’ seems to have adopted so well even without the interaction platforms that link the world and people it closer to each other.

It is that culture and resilience that makes us more human and understanding, it is a privilege if one gets to experience that from a different nation.

That being said, the resilience that defines the Chinese people and the way they believe so much in their own culture is what makes them beautiful people.

Million thanks to the people of Beijing for hosting us and showing a different side to what we may have been fed about China.

With the world nowadays full of hate and racism, for a change we met people who were so nice. After all it's all about ‘human race and spirit’ and that is what makes us one no matter the boundaries and distance we have as different countries.  We are one.

Thank you to all who has ever hosted us and showed us love, ‘Xie xie China’.

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