I am an outgoing person. I will strike up a conversation with anyone, pretty much wherever I am. If I see someone who looks like they probably speak English, I always say hello! And that in turn has the person saying hello back, and we start a conversation – where are you from? What are you doing here? Almost always it is another teacher! I have met people here in Changchun from South Africa, Australia, Morocco, USA, Canada and of course China.
Chinese people can be very friendly once they get over their nervousness of trying to speak English. About a year ago (end of August 2016), I had decided to explore Changchun and got on a bus not knowing where it was heading to. I stayed on until the end, and discovered a beautiful park. I wandered through it, and hoped my GPS on my phone would help me find my way back. No such luck. I did find a street that I recognized, but I had myself so turned around that I had no idea what way to go.
Instead of panicking, I decided to wing it and just wander around until I found someone who might be able to help me. I knew where I wanted to go and I knew the Chinese name for it. So off I went. I remembered in the Czech Republic, my instincts always said ask a younger person because they will in all likelihood be studying or have studied English – and they will understand. Well, I approached a young man at a bus stop, and asked him which bus I should take. He understood me enough to be able to point me in a direction that would get me there. I said thank you, and crossed the street to the other bus stop. About two minutes later, he was there tapping me on my shoulder. He had found an easier way for me to get to my destination, and walked me to the right bus stop. We exchanged numbers and off I went.haha
Well, this very nice young man has become a very good friend of mine. Zero is his English name (I cannot pronounce his Chinese name). He introduced me to Cinderella and Nancy, and the three of them have all become very good friends.
Tonight we all got together and had a nice dinner together and then went to KTV, to say so long (I never say good bye!), and enjoy each other’s company one more time as a group. They are all wonderful young Chinese people. The two ladies are Chinese English teachers, and Zero works with computer software for schools (that’s what I understand anyway!). The generosity (and I use that word a lot here in China but it’s so appropriate) of these people is overwhelming. I am going to miss the three of them very much. Zero wants me to come back next May for his wedding (sorry but I don’t think that is in my plan!).
It’s amazing how getting lost in a foreign country can help you find lovely people that become close friends! I am very grateful for becoming friends with these three people. It has made me enjoy my time here very much!