Ni Hao

5 03 2008

I’m on my 3rd night here and despite having no friends here nor acquaintance, I do not feel lonely.

My workmates have been very warm and welcoming. On my first day of work I was treated to my first real Chinese lunch by a couple of teammates and today another two guys invited us to a fancy Shanghainese lunch to celebrate the birth of their sons.

I was told that out here, baby showers and celebrations occur after the baby is born, not before the birth, like how Westerners do it.

A more interesting cultural fact I learned is that by tradition, a baby’s name isn’t given by the parents. It is in fact given by a future/fortune teller. When I asked what the basis is, they said it is based on the five elements; water, fire, gold, earth… I’m missing one more, I can’t remember what it was. I’ll get back to you on that one. So anyway, the baby’s name will have to signify a balance among the five elements. And mind you, you can’t just go to any fortune teller, parents consult with the famous ones and sometimes the wait list is so long that your kid has to wait 4 months before she gets called by a proper name.

Food here is orgasmic and is a social activity as it is shared by everyone on the table. My workmates keep worrying that I dislike Chinese food and I keep reassuring them that as long as I know what I’m about to put into my mouth then I’m a happy camper. This is definitely my kind of foodie heaven, without a doubt, especially since the cuisine differs per province, there’s Shanghainese food which I’m informed is sweeter, then Beijing which is spicier, and then there’s a region which is the greasiest oiliest of them all. Heaven indeed. So let me take back what I said about Minneapolis several months ago hehe. Just kidding. Maybe…

Anyway, before I came here I was told Shanghai was a mix of the old world and the new and progressive. I don’t quite get that impression.. Maybe because I’ve played witness to that kind of setting when I was in the Philippines or maybe because I don’t normally associate modernity and progress exclusively with a Western backdrop. But for others it could be the opposite, so when they see progress with an Oriental or Eastern flavor, they automatically say it’s a mismatch.

I’m still working up the courage to wander far from my hotel’s vicinity. I find it unnerving that I can’t read any of the signs around the city and that I can’t speak the language so it’s very easy to get lost. That’s all for now. I’ll check back again in a couple of days, if anyone cares…

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5 responses

5 03 2008
Gerry

Xempre naman we care porsh…hehe…metal yata yung nakalimutan mo..:-D grabe, jetsetter ka nang tunay! 😀 haha

5 03 2008
Porsh

Haha. Super thanks Gerry, na-touch naman ako hehe. Metal nga ata yun, malamang metal nga. Astig nila no, kelangan pa magkonsulta ng ibang tao.

6 03 2008
Ochie

Ansaya! Heard from Netskie na asa Shanghai ka :D. Ako rin wish ko magpunta jan. Maybe someday :D.

Pag na-assign ka sa Japan, sama mo ko 😀

6 03 2008
Porsh

Hello Ochie! Oh yes masaya nga, sarap mga food and mababait mga tao. Sige pag pupunta ako Japan sasabihan kita =)

11 03 2008
nan

shanghai baby shanghai… yeah, it can be unerving to walk the streets were you can’t read the signs and you cant stop and just ask anybody for directions. hehe, the most important words i learned was WC which stands for water closet aka toilets. hahaha!!! i did venture out alone from our hotel in beijing and walked for about an hour. it was a beautiful experience… hay, so near yet so far… going home in a few hours… thank god for free internet access in an other wise boring HK airport.

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