“What is Daily Life Like”
Abstract: Do you have a Chinese name? My friend has a Chinese name and an English name!
What is your full name?
Yang, Sole (English name “Chris”)
Where do you live? What is your house like?
Chris just moved from the East side of Beijing to the West side. He and his wife Jessica moved so they could be closer to Chris’ parents. Family is really important in China, and especially when the family only has one child (which is most families in big cities).
Chris and Jessica’s house has two bedrooms, a kitchen and a bathroom. In their bathroom the shower and toilet areas are combined. That’s how it is in our house too. A shower curtain separates the sink and clothes washer from the toilet and shower. You just pull the shower curtain closed and take a shower in the same space as the toilet.
What is your family like?
Chris and Jessica are both college graduates. It is very uncommon for students to get married while still in school. The Chinese people think you need to graduate and have a career before starting a family.
Chris and Jessica are both in their early 30’s. They are trying to have a baby right now, and are really excited. Jessica has an older brother, and her older brother and his wife have a one-year-old boy named Kevin. Chris says Kevin is really rowdy and gets on his nerves sometimes. He’s nervous that when he and Jessica have a baby, he or she will be rowdy like Kevin.
Chris’ parents live in Beijing. His father is in the military and even teaches military science courses at the best university in Beijing, Peking University. Chris’ mother is an excellent cook, they say, but we’re not allowed to go to Chris’ parent’s house, because they live in a military compound where foreigners like us are not permitted.
Jessica’s parents live in ZhuoZhou. It is in HuBei province about one hour outside of Beijing. They go to ZhuoZhou almost every weekend to visit her family.
How do you get around?
Chris and Jessica both have a car. That is considered really affluent in China. They don’t really ever take subways or buses. They don’t really know how to get places on the subway, and we don’t really know how to get anywhere on the streets! With both of us combined though, we can get anywhere by any method.
What types of clothing do you like to wear?
Chris and Jessica are very fashionable. They wear Western clothes the most. Not Western like Cowboys, but Western like Americans. “Western” is a term people here use to describe all kinds of things like food, clothes and movies. I think Jessica is actually the fashionable one, and just buys clothes for Chris because Jessica loves shopping and Chris hates it.
What do you like to do in your free time?
Every Sunday morning Chris plays futbol with his friends. Do any of you know what futbol is? It’s really popular here in China. He also likes to go to futbol matches. His favorite team is Beijing’s home team. He says it’s really hard to get tickets, and sometimes you have to wait in line a long time. Also, when the futbol arena sells tickets, a whole section is left empty between each team’s fans, because fights are so common at futbol matches. The empty section helps to avoid fights.
What language(s) do you speak? How do you say “Hello” in your language?
Both Chris and Jessica speak Mandarin and English. “Hello” in Mandarin is nin hao if it is formal and polite, or ni hao if it is not formal, or just saying “Hi” to friends.
Do you have pets?
Chris has one dog. Chris doesn’t even say “they” have one dog, because Jessica doesn’t like animals very much at all, and Chris takes care of his dog all by himself.
Have you traveled? Where have you traveled to?
Chris speaks English quite a bit better than Jessica. This is probably because Chris spent six years in Manchester, England. He went to college there for four years, and then just stayed and worked after graduation because he liked it so much. So, Chris speaks English with a Manchester England accent.
Chris and Jessica have both come to the United States. They said they didn’t get to stay for very long, and they wish they could have stayed longer, but they both really enjoyed it. They say they want to visit us in the United States once we move back home.
What do you do for work?
Chris has two jobs. He is a travel agent specifically for Peking University, and he owns and runs an English teaching school. As a travel agent he arranges special trips that the students and faculty go on. For the English teaching school, he arranges and enrolls students and tries to hire native speaking teachers to teach classes. He also interacts with the students’ parents to make sure everything is going well for them.
Is there anything else you would like to say to students in the United States?
Chris especially, but both Chris and Jessica, think that learning a new culture and language is so important for understanding more and more how the world works.