种族歧视

Not everything has been positive being a foreigner in China. I’ve found it can actually be a hindrance to look the way you do. A few friends and I decided to go to an electronics market known as 赛格(saige). This market is vast and has nearly every electronic available. You want into this building and it’s almost as if you stepped into the future. However, this blog post is focused on what happened next. My friends and I were running late so we wanted to grab a cab and head back to our dorms. So we stand along a busy intersection trying to hail a cab. We see plenty of the cabs pass by having customers in the back. But eventually we started seeing empty cabs pass by. We thought to ourselves maybe they were at the end of their shift. But we saw more than a few pass us by and no more than 20 meters down the road pick up someone of Asian decent. After 30 minutes of waiting, we realized what was going on, they were racist towards foreigners. We realized we weren’t going to get a cab and just took the bus. This is the first time in my life I’ve been a minority where I went, and unfortunately I was discriminated against. The worst part of this whole situation was I had things to do and waiting a half hour for a cab wasn’t on my list of things to do. I’ve talked with other foreigners I’ve met and they all have experienced the same thing. I’ve also learned a few ways to get around the system. First, if you travel with someone who either is of Asian decent or looks Asian, then you allow them first to hail the cab and then you come out from wherever you were hiding and get in. You immediately see the frustration in the cab driver’s eyes. Another way that I learned from a Chinese friend of mine was to carry around a small backpack that has wheels and a handle and prop that out on the sidewalk. You won’t have to wait more than a minute or two for a cab to stop for you. Much to their surprise, you won’t be going to the airport, but your preferred destination. It’s unfortunate that I need to stoop to hiding or misleading a cab driver just to get picked up, but I’m here to build relations between the two countries by doing my part and learning the language. If only they didn’t group all foreigners together  and let a few bad apples ruin the bunch.

种族歧视

Not everything has been positive being a foreigner in China. I’ve found it can actually be a hindrance to look the way you do. A few friends and I decided to go to a electronics market known as 赛格(saige). This market is vast and has nearly every electronic available. You want into this building and it’s almost as if you stepped into the future. However, this blog post is focused on what happened next. My friends and I were running late so we wanted to grab a cab and head back to our dorms. So we stand along a busy intersection trying to hail a cab. We see plenty of the cabs pass by having customers in the back. But eventually we started seeing empty cabs pass by. We thought to ourselves maybe they were at the end of their shift. But we saw more than a few pass us by and no more than 20 meters down the road pick up someone of Asian decent. After 30 minutes of waiting, we realized what was going on, they were racist towards foreigners. We realized we weren’t going to get a cab and just took the bus. This is the first time in my life I’ve been a minority where I went, and unfortunately I was discriminated against. The worst part of this whole situation was I had things to do and waiting a half hour for a cab wasn’t on my list of things to do. I’ve talked with other foreigners I’ve met and they all have experienced the same thing. I’ve also learned a few ways to get around the system. First, if you travel with someone who either is of Asian decent or looks Asian, then you allow them first to hail the cab and then you come out from wherever you were hiding and get in. You immediately see the frustration in the cab driver’s eyes. Another way that I learned from a Chinese friend of mine was to carry around a small backpack that has wheels and a handle and prop that out on the sidewalk. You won’t have to wait more than a minute or two for a cab to stop for you. Much to their surprise, you won’t be going to the airport, but your preferred destination. It’s unfortunate that I need to stoop to hiding or misleading a cab driver just to get picked up, but I’m here to build relations between the two countries by doing my part and learning the language. If only they didn’t group all foreigners together  and let a few bad apples ruin the bunch.

雕刻时光咖啡馆

Sculpting%20in%20Time        Early%20Bird%20Special

Sunday morning comes around and you are in the mood for an American breakfast? Sorry to tell you, China doesn’t have such places, oh wait! This is Sculpting In Time Cafe, a modern cafe with a western feel, along with a relaxing atmosphere. Every Sunday, they have an early bird special until 11 am. For just 15 元(About $2.50) You can get two eggs, salad, either white bread, whole grain bread, or croissant, as well as your choice of bacon or ham, and a cup of coffee or orange juice. Upon arrival of this dish, one is instantly taken back to the groggy mornings that is Sunday with a large list of things to do, however, the day seemed that much easier when you started it right. The same is true for us Fulbrighters. Our Sundays are generally filled with loads of work for the coming week of classes as well as laundry and groceries. So thankfully, Sculpting In Time Cafe allows us to start the day off right, for just $2.50, talk about the early bird getting the worm!

Since February 25th, the Chinese students have resumed school for their spring semester. However, international students don’t begin school until the 4th of March. In order to know what level our Chinese is at, we had to take a placement test. They access you and place you in levels ranging from 1 to 8, with 8 being the hardest international students can take without actually taking normal classes with other Chinese students. The worst part of the test was the 8:30 starting time. There was a reading and writing portion, as well as a speaking portion to access your level of Chinese. Because my roommate and I were up late last night playing on a newly bought dartboard, we went to bed really late. I went into this test, dazed and still very sleepy and went right into it. The test was four pages double sided, that entailed various kinds of questions. Thankfully my reading is the best of my Chinese skills, so I did fairly well. Unfortunately, some questions had quite a bit of ambiguity to them so it ended up coming down to one question or the other. After I finished the writing class, they assessed my level of speaking. I sat face to face with a teacher and we began talking about where I’m from, and the group I came with. We talked for about 5 minutes and she put me into either 4th level or 5th level. Her explanation was because my reading is at a relatively high level, I could be in 5th level, but since my listening could use some work, 4th level could also work. She told me to check out the textbooks since this was only a recommendation. After looking at the book for level 5, I realized what I’m about to get myself into. The translations of the new vocabulary words are in Chinese; there is not an English word to be found. However, I am willing to take this challenge head on and put in all the hours I need to continue to grow as a Chinese speaker.

今天的天气

 

Today the weather is beyond the levels that are allowable to be outside in. This morning I went to explore the city a little and ended up buying a large map of the world at a bookstore. However, during this endeavor there was a nasty wind blowing and the dirt was just flying into my face. I had a constant dry mouth sensation. I knew something was off about today’s weather. Over the past few days we have had beautiful blue skies and warm weather. So today’s weather was so unexpected. There was a yellow tint in the air, everywhere you went. Turns out that that was a thick layer of dust in the air that is similar to a wood shop classroom. I started to feel exhausted really easily because what I was breathing turned out to be hazardous, extremely hazardous. According to AQI (Air Quality Index), over 100 isn’t healthy, 250 is very unhealthy, and 400 or so is hazardous. So when I returned home I was curious as to just how bad the air quality is. On some of the worst days so far, it’s been in the 700’s which is actually hazardous enough that I would wear a surgical mask to make it easier to breathe. Today’s levels clocked in at 1532 at 4 pm, almost 4x the normal hazardous levels. It’s recommended that if the levels are above 400 you should avoid going outside if you are able. The scale doesn’t mention over 1000 because it shouldn’t get that hazardous. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a surgical mask on me and the air really is thick and painful. Plans for the rest of the day are spent inside. If you are curious about Xi’an pollution, check the website http://aqicn.info/city/xian/

Below are pictures of just how bad it is, and no, there is no sepia filter. That’s as yellow as it looks, this is the worst it’s been for a while.

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