A New Room, A New House, A New Country
Abstract: How does it feel to live in a new home in a different country!? If you are curious, then join me as I tell you my experience living in a Chinese person’s home in Beijing. I will show you my room, my daily meals, and a little bit about Dama– my host grandmother.
Introduction: Da jia hao! Hello everyone! I am currently in my room trying to stay warm with my red Peking University sweater and a cup of hot water. These past few days in Beijing have been really cold! Is it still cold in New York? If it is, please wear warm clothes and drink hot water so you don’t get sick! In China, it is very common for people to drink hot water so they don’t get sick. This might explain why Dama tells me to drink hot water when it’s cold outside. Do you guys remember Dama? As I wrote in my last journal, Dama is my host grandmother, which means that I will be living with her during my stay in Beijing. Let me describe to you my experiences living with her so far.
It has been two weeks since I moved in to her house. My experience so far has been great! But in the beginning, I have to admit that living with a complete “stranger” was a little bit scary. Can you imagine how it feels to suddenly not live with your parents, but rather live with someone you don’t know? It was a very big change for me. But thankfully as I spent more days with Dama, I became more relaxed. I got to know her and she got to know me. We suddenly stopped being shy and tense. Instead, we started to spend a lot of time talking and laughing with each other. Let me tell you a few things about Dama so you can get to know her too! She is a 60-year-old woman, who was born in Guilin, but moved to Beijing twenty years ago. Guilin is in the southern part of China while Beijing is in the northern part. It’s like comparing New York and Florida. But the difference is that China is bigger than the United States, so the distance between Guilin and Beijing is also bigger. By train Guilin is about eight hours from Beijing. Dama also has two children, a son and a daughter. Her daughter lives in Las Vegas. Have any of you visited Las Vegas? Dama says her daughter loves it there! Dama also loves tofu and vegetables. She is very healthy. Make sure you eat your vegetables so you are as strong and healthy as Dama!
As you can see, Dama and I have gotten to know each other really well. Even though it was scary in the beginning, our relationship has gotten better and better. One of the things I love most about Dama is that she is really nice and sweet. She is just like my grandmother! She is always looking after me. For example, when I moved in to her house, she wanted me to feel comfortable so she gave me the biggest room in the house. When I came to China, I knew I had to be prepared to live in a smaller house than I was used to. But when Dama showed me my room, I was surprised to see how big it was! It has a king-size bed, a big sofa and dining table, a computer area and a porch. I call it my “mini-palace.” I am very thankful Dama gave me this room and has been very kind to me. Apart from the big room, Dama cooks so much food for me! She usually feeds me five to seven plates of food! Everything is delicately prepared and the end result is delicious! It took me a few days to get used to eating so much food.
Getting used to different traditions and customs in China has been very important. One of the things I had to get used to was using chopsticks instead of forks and spoons. In China, chopsticks are called kuaizi. Say it with me, KWAI-DZI. Kuaizi are two skinny wooden sticks, which are used in a certain way to eat your food. In the beginning it was very hard using kuaizi to eat my food because I didn’t know how to use them. But with time I got better. I have to say that I definitely use my kuaizi a lot better today than three weeks ago. I encourage you all to go to a Chinese restaurant and practice how to use kuaizi. It’s a very fun experience!
Another interesting custom I had to get used to was having a spin disk on the table. This disk is where all the plates go. In China, a person doesn’t order for only himself but for the entire table. The waiter will put all the different plates of food on the disk, and each person will get what he or she wants. In order to get to all the plates, you have to spin the disk. It was a very new and interesting experience for me. Once again, I encourage you to go to a Chinese restaurant and experience this for yourself.
Well, I now have to go buy some fruits and vegetables for Dama at the market. The food in Beijing is very cheap, and the markets are usually full of people buying and selling different fruits, vegetables and meats. I can’t wait to go buy a pineapple for Dama because she is cooking pineapple rice tonight. Yum! I hope you guys enjoyed my journal! Zai jian! Bye!