Whoever thinks that the Chinese are very strict and not into anything should maybe spent some time around them. Even without really understanding each other, they are fun, witty and very friendly.
When we arrived at the hotel back entrance and were struggling with our suitcases, one of the staff members gave us a helping hand. With the use of a translation app we tried to understand which rooms we needed to go to. Once that was clear he spoke some other Chinese words into the app and showed it to us: Welcome to China.
And just this morning I decided to try something, that I was quite sure would not happen. The thing is, we both brought comfort food to our rooms. But Hendrik Willem went trough his a bit faster than I did. So I thought to send him some of mine. But how? His room is opposite of a neighbor, who is again opposite of my German neighbor. So I first thought to create a chain of neighbors passing a package. But would’t it be much simpler to write his room number on a package and hand it to one of the staff members in the hall? But…would they do that??
Well, you never know till you try. So when I heard them down hall to collect waste, I quickly wrote HW’s room number and did an effort to write Chinese symbols representing “room” and “thank you” and gave it a shot. The guy gave me a big smile from behind his face cover and nodded enthusiastically. Only 5 minutes later (!) I got a surprised but happy message from Hendrik Willem. Package received!
Package prepared for sending...... Delivered!
But when you don’t understand the language, sounds are easily mistaken for unfriendly words. If you hear for instance Arabic for the first time, you can easily think they are in a fight! What often does not help is that the intonation is completely different. We can say goodbye in a cheerful way but also in an angry way. We use the intonation to express our mood, and the receiver picks up on this. This is radically different in China, where a different intonation or emphasis on a tone creates a whole new word! This makes it hard for us to ” hear” the emotion or mood behind the sounds.
I already described in an earlier blog how they serve the food: they come into the hallway and start knocking on doors and announce the food is coming. Well, sort of. I made a recording of it. I suggest you go and lie in bed and let the sound of our Roomservice wake you from your nice slumber…
In the previous blog I wrote that we were doing quite ok for the first week. But at the start of the second week I woke up with the Monday blues. Suddenly I felt tired, no appetite, no lust for life, no energy… I felt like going back to bed and stay there the rest of the week. Now we all feel like this now and then, and sometimes you may give in and take an off-day. But while I was feeling super down, I knew that giving in to it was not an option this time. When in quarantine, giving in to such feelings is like a dead-end street. Better not to take it. So instead, I pumped up the blood with a hot&cold shower and turned on some latin vibes to get my mood swinging in another direction. And while I was maybe not the most energetic person that day, it got me through and things got back to “normal”.
But the total lack of direct daylight and sunlight is slowly taking a toll. At times we both feel more tired and it’s harder to focus. As if it’s hard to think beyond the walls of this room. And surely… when I looked up the symptoms of Vitamine D deficiency, I recognized most of them. Which is not surprising, and luckily we will be able to solve that once we are out on the streets again.
And with only a few more days to go, a walk in the street comes closer and closer, we can almost feel the fresh air! We are hanging in here, we are getting trough this!