Maria Holland

“Beach Party” Is the Same in Every Language

In Uncategorized on September 20, 2009 at 8:36 pm

It’s true; the beach party was the talk of Xiamen last week, it was easy to tell because no matter the country – America, China, Poland, Russia, Cape Verde, Ethiopia, France, Germany, Holland, etc. – everyone just called it “beach party” or something close enough.

I went a little bit after midnight, and while I passed some people coming back, there were still plenty of partiers. There was a place for dancing, food and alcohol for sale, and a beach for hanging out. While I was sorely tempted to get smashed and make out with a miniature version of the United Nations (not really), I refrained from drinking and just enjoyed myself dancing.

I also made a new friend who is from Oklahoma! As if that weren’t enough, he’s from Bartlesville (outside of Tulsa) and went to OU. This was particularly funny because as we were talking, our football teams were playing each other (they ended up winning in a shut-out). Crazy.

He’s also my new hero because he told me about a free proxy service. I started using it today and it is WONDERFUL. I feel so free! I can put pictures on my blog and facebook (which means I’m more motivated to take pictures), I can read prohibited blogs and news, and I even figured out how to subscribe to some new podcasts!! The only weird thing is that I think the proxy is routing me through Sweden or something, because my facebook ads and things like that are all in some language that I do not understand . . .

Leinira, Anastasia, and I went to Wal-Mart again today and bought a fridge! It’s getting delivered tomorrow and I am so excited . . . The lady who runs the shoppette downstairs kindly let me store my cheese and butter in there so it didn’t go bad, but I can’t wait to have it in my room!!

Hanging out with Leinira and Anastasia is wonderful. They’re both great people and although they’re very close, they make me feel welcome instead of an awkward outsider. It’s quite incredible that they can manage this, as they’ve pretty much developed their own language over the last year. They speak almost entirely in Chinese, but they each know a few words in each other’s languages (Portuguese and Russian) as well as in English (like “beach party”), so those are mixed in without thinking. They also have their own slang that only they understand, and when all the vocabularies at their disposal fail them, they resort to onomatopoeia-like sounds.

We attract a lot of attention when we go out together, and not only because of the way we talk. Walking around with Leinira makes me feel like a celebrity, because I know that everyone is watching us. It’s even more noticeable than being with a large group of Americans in Hunchun. She’s black, but it’s hard to tell what people are more interested in – her skin or her hair, which is wrapped up like dreadlocks. At least two people came up behind her to touch her hair today, and you could tell that everyone else wanted to. In America, only really young children can get away with staring at those who look different, but here everyone feels free to do so. I respond by attempting to talk to every single small Chinese child I see (getting back for all the times Johnathan was harassed last summer, Anna!).

I also think that the weather today is worth commenting on. I don’t think it got above 90, which is downright beautiful compared to these last few weeks. I’m glad it’s getting cooler, because I finally decided on my destination for the upcoming National Day holiday – Taiwan – and I’ve heard its weather is pretty much the same as Xiamen’s.

I’m feeling kind of domestic right now . . . I cleaned our apartment and Leinira is almost done making dinner. Smells good, so I can’t wait . . .

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