首先，大部分的北京人不能说英文， 可是就是塞翁失马 ：因为我比较害羞，比较喜欢用英文解释、解决问题。可是现在这是不能的。从第一个跟房地产中间人的商量到迷路时向保安问问路， 得不得用中文解释自己。可是最难的情况是跟出租车司机讲话 – 他们的口音太重了，没有耐心!
I have now been in Beijing for two weeks. Until now, my daily life has been very busy, but I’ve already found out that Beijing both meets my expectations and is completely different from what I imagined all at the same time.
Firstly, the majority of people in Beijing can’t speak English but this is actually a blessing in disguise. Since I’m naturally shy, I default into English when asking questions and settling problems, yet this isn’t possible here. From my first discussion with the estate agent to getting lost on the street and asking a security guard for directions, I have no choice but to use Chinese. However, what is hardest by far is talking to taxi drivers – their accents are really strong and they don’t have any patience!
Secondly, the pace of life in Beijing is extremely fast! Whatever time it is, everybody is always in a hurry. At rush hour, commuters on the metro all jostle and shove each other. In addition, very few people wait for the traffic lights to turn green before crossing, and although it’s a bit dangerous, you just have to do what the locals do!
The most surprising thing about Beijing so far has been its scale. In the UK, I live in an extremely small village, so whenever a ‘big’ city comes up in conversation, I think of London. But Beijing is so much bigger than London. When looking at a map on my phone, the distance between my current location and the destination on the screen seems to be relatively short, but in reality it turns out to be more than an hour’s bus ride away.
Also, Beijing is a lot greener than I had imagined. I originally thought Beijing had neither parks nor any attractive districts in the city, and it only had lots of grey, ugly concrete buildings. But I quickly discovered that Beijing is filled with so much green. For example, on the sides of the pavement, huge trees stretch out into the distance. Also, all the parks are stunning – sometimes, after walking up the hills you can gaze out into the distance and the stunning view lets you escape the bustle of everyday life.
Next week I’ll start class and I hope I can make the most of this opportunity to improve my Chinese!