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秋春粉墨

若兰的上海生活

 
 
 

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F'n Breakdown  

2013-02-27 01:10:54|  分类: 默认分类 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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Living in a foreign country is a hassle.  I used to complain a lot about Japan, but good god living in China can really grind your nerves.  I swear there’s going to be a day where, when a car cuts me off (and I’m a pedestrian, not driving a vehicle of any sort) and I’m going to jump on the windshield of his BMW, thrust my hand through the glass and rip out his eyeballs.

But today, China just really pushed me over the edge.  I went soap opera dramatic and cried on a clown-like bicycle as I lamented over my poor purchase. 

 

My boyfriend recommended that I buy a bike from a random dude on the internet.  This may sound like a horrible idea, but in China bikes are stolen everyday time and time over again (I knew a man that had his bike stolen ten times), so I figured buying a crap bike on the net probably wouldn’t be that bad of a purchase.  I had already attempted to buy a bike twice, but because god hates me or he is trying to keep me off the road, one or the other, I fail in every gddmn attempt to just get on a bike.  What happened to the days where I just pay money and someone gives me a bike?  Why do things have to be so complicated in China?  Why do I have to negotiate the price of my 50 cent vegetables?  Why do I only have the choice to spend one hour bargaining with a lady to get some decent sweater for 20 bucks, or pay 100 bucks at H&M with a 50x inflated price—and nothing inbetween?  Why, god, why!?!

 

Anyway, I meet Chinese dude and he rides up on the bike.  It looks pretty bad and there’s still plastic on it, which means it’s brand fucking new (not a secondhand bike like he said—either that or he rode the bike while keeping the plastic on—not likely).  I get on the thing and ride it around for five minutes and decide it’s worth 20 0 RMB (30 USD) and pay the guy his money.  We have some small talk, and I notice that his Mandarin blows ass.  This isn’t an uncommon thing in Shanghai, but I become suspicious when he says “I’m a local” in response to the “Ni shi na li ren?” question.  This guy is probably younger than me and, according to my sources, attends Jiaotong University.

 

If you don’t live in China, you probably don’t even know what speaking proper Mandarin means.  You probably thing everyone in China speaks awesome Mandarin—but the truth is, especially in the south, is that probably 60-70% of people cannot speak proper Chinese.  China probably has 80,000 dialects and it wasn’t until 30 years ago that Mandarin became a standard class in public schools. 

 

Anyway, Shanghainese people are not human.  I don’t know what it is about Shanghainese, but they have AWESOME language ability.  I’ve yet to meet a Shanghai-ren that speaks crap English—usually they speak better English than me and they’ve never even set foot out of Shanghai.  All the Chinese people in my office speak better Japanese than half my friends in Japan, and sometimes I can’t even tell who is Chinese and Japanese.  It’s that scary.    Shanghainese people are blessed with the gift of language, and god knows why.  Of course, this means their Mandarin is top-notch and has little to no accent.

 

So when bike dude tells me that that is a local but his Mandarin blows, me=suspicious.  Whatever, I think, 200 RMB cheap and the bike works so what more can I ask for, right?  WRONG.

 

Ten minutes later, the seat breaks.  I try to fix seat, but fail, and find myself in the middle of the city trying to peddle my bike home.  The seat dropped all the way to the lowest level (this is already a near-ground level bike), so when pedaling my legs probably reach up to my chin.  Everyone in Shanghai was probably thinking: Look at that dumb foreigner ride that little kid bike.  Well, they got the dumb foreigner part right—because dumb foreigner got cheated.

 

This isn’t the first time I’ve been cheated for a bike—or really, anything in China.  I’m goddamn sick of being cheated.  I’ve been cheated for tours to scenic areas in Guilin, I’ve been cheated for my bike in Beijing, and I’ve been cheated for the tea set I bought in Tiantang.  I’m just sick of Chinese people trying to nickel and dime me at every corner.  I’m a trusting, nice person and China is slowly making me jaded—I feel like everyone has a motive and are on the prowl to take my money, and fuck me over. 

 

I just broke down and cried while pushing my bike around random streets in Shanghai this evening.  I rushed to get off work, rode the subway, met some stranger and blew 30 bucks on a bike that I couldn’t even ride for ten minutes?  It may sound dramatic, but WHY DOES LIFE HAVE TO SUCK!?!

 

After calling my best Chinese friend and being told that I have an emotional problem, I hyperventilated a bit, calmed down, then took control of my emotions again.  Still, I was pissed and had no idea what to do about the goddamn bike.  My Chinese friends all told me to go and fix it, but after my experience with that bike tonight I want nothing more than to just pick it up and throw it at the guy who sold it to me (or my old interpreting professors)… one of the two.

 

In other news, I had a revelation at my new job today: Shanghainese people just might be more cold hearted than Japanese people!  Japanese people, with their programmed responses and ice cold exterior—how could any race possibly compete? 

 

No one in my office talks me all day, despite the fact that I’m surrounded by Chinese people.  No one has made an effort to introduce themselves to me, and the Chinese people are within my vicinity are all from Shanghai, thus they speak in their dialect and refuse to speak Mandarin.  I may be badass and speak Japanese and Chinese, but expecting me to understand your dialect is just being bitchy.  Stop it.

 

I was in the office today and realized that, aside from spoken Japanese, I couldn’t understand a single word anyone said within the 9 hours I was at the office.  I may as well be working in Cambodia because I probably understand more Cambodian than Shanghai-hua (and Cambodian is probably more useful).  Shanghainese is the ugliest language (next to Vietnamese) I’ve ever heard, and Shanghainese people speak the dialect CONSTANTLY.  God, I came to China to learn proper Chinese, not this garbage dialect that no one can speak.  Sheesh.

 

Back to my point.  Aside from my two Japanese directors, no one spoke to me.  Even when I was being introduced to the staff, only the members from Japan managed to ask me questions and seem generally interested in my presence at the company.   The Chinese staff, even the ones I work with, haven’t even asked what my name is—and probably never will.

 

This Japanese office is nice and soothing, though, and the workload is perfect.  I don’t have to work overtime until midnight like most Japanese companies, and 100% of the work is translation/interpretation (thus far).  The content is interesting and I’m learning more and more Japanese everyday, so there’s nothing much to complain about.   My director is an amazing woman that could probably rule the world if she so desired, and my executive director is a cool and fashionable old Japanese man that cracks English jokes at me and asks me weird questions about Utah.

 

So the verdict?

 

New job = good

Chinese people cheating me = bad

Mary’s temper = terrible

 

Sigh.  I really want to take a sledgehammer to my bike, but I should do the sensible thing and take it to some street dude and try to fix it for 2 bucks.  Let’s see what I can do.

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