What I dare to do in China that I didn’t dare to do in the U.S.
This is the first time I have spent my fall semester in the U.S. since my freshman year, and it really feels different. I’m also, much more bored than usual, and since I see my friends are still living it up in Shanghai, while I am back in reality here in the retirement state Pennsylvania. However, I don’t know if Pennsylvania is my reality, or if Shanghai was a glimpse of the reality I can live, but either way, I’m in limbo right now.
So, while I am shifting back and forth on my bed, trying to get the best position for cell phone service, I started thinking about what I’d be doing if I were in China at this moment. I would most likely be at a shady food stall eating some random meat that was seasoned nicely and hit the spot, and drink a 4 RMB bottle of Tsingtao while enjoying the weather. But I’d never do that here, since, I couldn’t, Pennsylvania is a dark abyss which I dare not drive at night, and I can’t find Tsingtao anywhere besides NY Chinatowns and Korea town.
So what else did I do in China that I wouldn’t do here, the list is enormous, but let us select a few~
Dare to live #1: Random travels
I am a big fan of random traveling; I like to discover hidden jewels, or places that aren’t popularized but still interesting. So while in Shanghai, I would first send at least 3 people a message in case I go missing, that I was going on a random adventure. This meant I was taking a random train or bus, with no destination in mind, maybe even to the end of the line and get off at the first place I see of interest; the riskier the more I feel alive!
Such as the time I got off at some upper-class looking community when taking the Shanghai Line 2. I, clearly lost, and clearly not rich enough to be playing in that area, (when we westerners say hanging out, as a way of saying something, Chinese people will say 玩 “wan3” which means play. They use it the same way we use “hangout”) so you can imagine my reaction when Chinese girls asked me if I want to go play, even in the US, they still use “want to go someplace to play.” But back on topic, and I will use “play” several times in this post, I was wandering around some neighborhood, and chatted with some old guy sitting next to me on a bench. After chatting for a while, he invited me for lunch in his apartment, which I thought was a bad idea, but it’s a rich place, sure, I said, why did I say yes? Because I’m stupid, and wanted to see, and I was hungry.
His place was hooked up real nice, and lunch was great, plus I still had my organs.
I would also go play at random malls, street vendors and shops, restaurants, even different provinces, and I would go so far as to take a bus to the last stop, then take a new bus from that end point onwards. When I felt too lost, I can take a taxi from wherever back to my school, because taxis in China are that cheap.
However this love of mine, I could never do, nor would I dare to do in the US. For one, I’d never take any train to the last stop here, it sounds scary, like an ambush would be waiting for me, and it even sounds like a horror movie “end of the line.” Plus after Trayvon Martin, I do like my father said, when we had our talk, I don’t even drive through a neighborhood if it’s not mine. People call the cops if they see cars in the neighborhood they’ve never seen there, or if they see a black person driving through, and it’s not a black community. And lastly, unlike China, I don’t really take random buses or trains, I go with a purpose, and don’t adventure much by myself like I could there, besides I don’t wanna get mugged. While working at Holiday Inn, one of our co-workers was mugged in NY, during the daytime, trying to the very same thing I do, adventure. Maybe I’m over-exaggerating, but I think not.
Dare to live #2 Random chats
Even though my Chinese is so-so, many people say it sounds fluent, or very native like, because I use words like 那个 “na4 ge” which means that, but if you say it a certain way, it is like saying um… or well… and to use words like that in a foreign language can’t be achieved without hearing it constantly. When Chinese people ask why my Chinese is at that level when they have studied English since they were 10, I tell them because I had 42 Chinese teachers.
By this, I mean I talk to everyone, and by that, I will be waiting on a line, on the train, out playing, or just walking and say hello to the person next to me, and 98% of “MY” experiences, the people always chat back and it’s friendly, I also usually end up swapping QQ or Wechat (popular social networking apps) with those who I meet, and they become my teachers. But since I’ve met so many people, one of my close friends love to say my Chinese is strangely cute, because it’s unidentifiable. She said it has a little of every province in it, because I adapt to who I’m speaking with, a way to compare it to English for those who have no idea what I’m talking about, imagine this: A person with a strong accent from Boston or Mississippi, talking with someone with a strong West African or Australian accent.
Also, Chinese people love location-based app that you can play, where you can add people who are close to you, literary 100 meters from you lol. Sounds dangerous, and it can be, so I advise caution, but in my instances, and observations, those apps like Mo Mo, or Wechat (try them, its fun and kind of cute, “momo” lol) people use these to avoid meeting someone face to face and being at a loss of words. I’ve been added many times, and I’ve added some people and met them too, people can build mini profiles and such and engage in random chats, I not only met some really cool expat and Chinese friends from this, but I dated a girl for a while my 2nd time in China, however there’s a reason we never went far with that lol. However, it is a cool app to keep meeting friends, in China, there is so many ways to meet and chat with people.
Unfortunately, it’s much harder to meet people here in the United States; at least in the same situations I met friends in China. Whether in New York, where people don’t even give directions unless you earnestly ask, then they will help, because in NY someone always wants to sell you something (in NY, you don’t even look strangers in the face, especially on the train unless you want to give someone a heart attack) or because my English is somewhat functional except when I mix Chinese into my written pieces, such as examples above, so I can’t use the “let’s be language partners excuse.” Also, I don’t even know if the US has its own location-based apps, but if they did who would use it? Also, the Asians who come here, quickly learn America isn’t what they thought, so they also rarely use, and if they do, it is to communicate with people back home, since its more dangerous here, they won’t accept adds or send random messages, at least they don’t accept my adds, without asking who I am, because they assume I’m a Chinese person with a troll black guy profile pic -_-;
+1 for the smile pic though
Dare to live #3 clubbing
In China, I clubbed, I clubbed a lot, usually once or twice a week, and during the weekends. But there were some things I did there, that I’d never do here like:
Dancing! While in China, I thanked god, that most black people has some sort of built-in rhythm, now moving to that rhythm is something I thank the marching band at Lincoln for, but in China, I went to clubs in a squad, and even sometimes I went by myself, sometimes on a mission. But I always danced, a lot of freestyle, danced some stuff from the band, some stuff I see at Lincoln parties, and I put it all to good use, cause’ they’ve never seen it lol. And while there I was thought to be this dancing Jackson 5/Usher fusion dancing machine.
Also in clubs, I would actively seek out high rollers and Chinese people with tables in case I wanted a seat or a drink, but was too poor to afford it. There’s no shame in being like a gypsy is there? I made it work^^. And also, since foreigners usually (I always did), get in clubs for free, I would go just because I was bored. Side note, in some ways black people are very discriminated against, but white people maybe more so. I remember going to a club that one of our girls in the program was promoting for. And when we were getting counted, she was told that white people don’t count, because they are the same color as Chinese people lol!!! What??
So, only Hispanics, and African-Americans count for her list, all females except Asian females counted I think, don’t remember, all I remember was me and my boy from Nigeria getting all smug as we walked in chest-up because we counted haha.
In the U.S. I wouldn’t really be dancing like that in a regular club, cause for one, I’ll look like an idiot, unless I was drunk and didn’t care, plus, I’d probably be the only one dancing, unless I’m in an Asian club like “The Circle” where people dance nonstop, and they don’t get tired, after an hour or two, I’m tired as hell and can’t walk straight. Also, in the U.S. if someone has a sofa, I’m not only, not gonna talk to them, I’m gonna stay away from them, and their bouncer security guards. Also, in the U.S. there’s a ton of African-Americans, I’m not so special so I’m not getting in anywhere for free I’m sure, but I’m not much of a partier anyway.
So, that’s just 3 things that I dared to do in China that I wouldn’t dare to do in America. And I have successfully relieved that massive boredom that I was afflicted with. Next article will be on 3 things I dare to do in America that I certainly wouldn’t dare do in China. Thanks for reading^^