Catching up a bit

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I realized today that I hadn't updated my blog in a few days and my confession is that there has been so many interesting things to do, see, and experience that I haven't been motivated to just sit at my computer and write!
Even now I'm not sure where to start, so I'll just jump back a few days. Alex and I decided after class that we were going to go out an explore the city a bit. (See his recently tagged photo of me). So we walked down baidi li road until the next major intersection and just turned left. We must have walked for a quite a while because we found ourselves pretty far away from our hotel. Tianjin has so much to offer that we were just turning up and down random streets just following the sights of people walking and the smells of street food and people congregating around it.
A couple nights ago Ross, Jewel, Alex and myself decided to venture out and let Jewel (a student here) take us to one of the cities iconic train stations. Instead, we ended up in the Italian district. Think China town, only Italian Style. It seemed like we had just walked to Europe! The bus ride there was about 20 minutes long and cost a whopping 2¥! Anyway. We walked along the waterfront for a while and ended up seeing 2 of the four new bridges that have been built in the last 15 years. They are incredibly beautiful and are an architectural marvel. Jewel then took us to a local restaurant where we had warm soy bean milk which is surprisingly good.
Last night, I had supper with Kannetha, Samantha, Ross, Matt, Dahui Li, and the local IEO director Jaysin. I know I keep saying this in these posts, but hot pot has got to be my new favorite meal. Its a tragedy that we do not have it in Duluth! I feel like it is such a simple concept and so delicious that there is really no excuse. Someday I may have to open one for myself just so that I have a place to eat it.
We have all started to notice subtle differences that we didn't notice before. Here is a quick list.
It is common to pay for your meal before you eat it
Tips are not required and are more often then not frowned upon (draws too much attention to social class)
The food at the campus cafeteria is actually edible and for the most part delicious, even to the locals.
Guys wear pants. Almost all the time. Doesn't matter if it is 90º out. (They generally just dress nicer than we do anyway)
Alex and I began compiling a list but these were just a few examples I could quickly recall. His list is quite a bit more extensive and I may have to find it and repost it here when I have time.
The lectures have also been getting more interesting as time goes on. Today's was about HR and the differences in managerial styles required here in China. There are 2 very distinct concepts that are employed in all relationships here, Guanxi (关系) and Face. Face is the easier to understand of the two in my opinion as it is similar to the expression of "saving face" in America and doing your best to not be dishonored. They elaborate a little more on the rules of how to save face, but it is generally the same thing I feel. Guanxi is a bit more complicated. I think the best way to describe it is as a circle of influence, with a bit of nepotism and quid pro quo. Their relationships are based around a fairly complex system of you scratch my back, i'll scratch your back someday.
I feel like I'm just talking at this point, so I'll stop. This blog could go on for a while. So I'll wrap it up by saying that the video at the Tianjin Planning Exhibition would turn even the most skeptical person about China into a believer in what they can accomplish in a very short time. Tianjin as a city is exploding at a rate I've never seen in America, with new developments popping up faster than anyone would ever have guessed.

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This page contains a single entry by voitx017 published on May 25, 2012 3:30 AM.

Second visit to the dining center, and second blog about the dining center was the previous entry in this blog.

Amy's 27 Credits is the next entry in this blog.

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