Monday, July 19, 2010

Monday at the Lake

I am an old Industrial Designer (Product Designer) from Seattle who moved 2 months ago to Zhangjiagang China for work and adventure. Well, that is enough background for now!

Today at the end of the day I asked my coworker Matthew to ask another coworker Bruce if he is overwhelmed on a project and needs help. First, these are not their real names because all my Chinese coworkers have made up American names for themselves, which I now see a quite common practice. Second, I would have asked Bruce myself but he does not speak a lick of Enlish. He was nowhere to be seen and when I asked why he had been gone half the day, Matthew started laughing and said he had to go to the hospital. It turns out that a few of my coworkers biked very far over the weekend, and it was too much for poor Bruce who had to go to the hospital today for what was described as "too much sport". Everyone found that very amusing.

The funny thing is how much you miss by not speaking Mandarin. And what is really funny is that a friend of mine told me a few weeks ago that a woman at his work was sick and went to the hospital. He too didn't know until he finally asked where she was what had happened. It is strange living in a place where you only speak about 300 works and can read about 4 characters, but it keeps things interesting, that is for sure.

After work today at sunset I went for a bike ride to the large lake in town which I have seen on maps but never explored. I rode in the general direction and was quite glad I photographed the street sign in order to find my way home later. Otherwise I would have had to ask "Bo Ching Jia Zhy Nar Ma?", which means "Where is the Walking Street" and find my way home from there. It's worked before and will work again!

I was shocked when I got to the lake and found that there were hundreds of Chinese people swarmed together at a redish brown colored sand beach. You can see it on Google Earth Here. Mostly I was surprised that they seemed to be enjoying the water so much, because most the Chinese people I know don't like to swim. The huge lake was beautiful, with wood walkways and wild lilies. It was cute to witness the Chinese beach scene of mom's chasing naked babies and old people in speedos. Out of the hundreds of people I must have passed I did not see another foreigner outside work today. Everyday is an adventure here and I feel like I am in a strange new world

China keeps me on my toes from the endless supply of delicious and weird foods to the interesting people I meet from all over the world. Living in China is by far the most strange and different place I have ever traveled, let alone lived. Sometimes it is very hard but many times it so amazing!

Thanks for following my first every blog post! I'll keep the stories coming and have no idea what China has in store next!!!


  1. Hey Jen! It was so great to read your blog and crazy to think that you are living in China! Craziness I tell you! It was also a good reminder that I need to start one of my own here soon as I will be going on my own adventure. I miss you and can't wait to hear of all your wonderful experiences! XOXOX!


  2. P.S. I LOVE your pics too! Beautiful!

  3. Thanks for posting the beautiful pictures and cute little stories Jen. I can imagine you right here in front of me telling me this funny little story with your hands waving about :) Miss you and I am very glad you are having such a wonderful time!

  4. Yo Jen, That's a great first post. Maybe you should consider a GPS just in case you forget your camera:) Looking forward to hearing more.

  5. You're a blogger! Hooray! Welcome. Welcome. Welcome. I can't wait to hear more about your life in China. It is really exciting. Oh, how I miss you so, but it's so wonderful to live vicariously through your adventures. You paint such wonderful pictures of what life is like for you there. Though I don't really want to picture old asian people in speedos... Too funny. Love you!

  6. Oh I miss you guys too!!! It is so fun to write my stories here. Yes a GPS would be awesome : ) Tonight I'm going to the pet market with some friends after work... I plan to document my adventures there too...

  7. Miss you so. Want to talk to you in Forum Language. Even in Bellevue Wa it is difficult to communicate sometimes. Love ya, Marlene