GĀN BĒI

So Christmas has come and gone in the blip of an eye. My Christmas day consisted of opening my one lonely present from one of my English corner students, which turned out to be a fantastic flask which I now love. I then had to do oral exams with my Elective students. After that I had to rush back to the apartment and quickly get ready to head to Chengdu city, where I met some other people from the company and had Christmas dinner together. It was good to be with other people during Christmas. I was eating with my knife and fork but I longed for chopsticks. I actually prefer using chopsticks now! At 10:30pm we all rushed to the subway to get home, as it closes at 10:45pm.  At 12 o clock I Skyped  the family, making me miss home and become depressed that I was stuck in China, I didn’t have my Mammy’s Christmas dinner, and I couldn’t sit with them enjoying an Irish coffee and watching Christmas movies.

But we did have a CHRISTMAS TREE! Our lovely Chinese friends got us a Christmas tree, with Christmas decorations and little notes on it saying Happy Christmas. It was great! The apartment looked like a disco with all the lights going.

So last Sunday I headed to the Amusement Park with my Chinese friend. The weather wasn’t great so there wasn’t many people there, meaning NO QUEUES. It was great. We went on the Big Wheel, the bumping cars, which are FAR better than the ones at home. You don’t have to go around in a circle. The only thing is the accelerator and wheel is on the left, meaning I had to use my right foot to make it go. It was too strange using the left. We also went on THE DROP. Now I’ve only been on one of these once, and I said I’d never do it again. My friend said he was never on it before, so I said ‘COME ON, WE’RE GOING ON IT’. I dragged him. But when we reached the top I literally nearly had a heart attack on it… I definitely won’t be going on that again.

Then there was another ride where two people are  together and it puts you upside down on it, literally. The thing is spinning around in circles and we are upside down on it for about 1 minute. We then went on a mini roller coaster. But before we got on it, one of the workers made us do STRETCHES. We had to roll our heads either side, move our bodies and our arms…. Just to go on a ride! Only in China! It was a great day, where we went to a fancy Hot Pot restaurant to end the day.

A deserted looking amusement park.

A deserted looking amusement park.

So yesterday, we were invited out for a fancy meal with some important people from the college, including the vice-president. When we heard we were going to the school canteen, we thought ‘oh….’ But we ended up going into a room adjacent to it, especially reserved for VIP’s. The room was gorgeous, with fancy plates, chopsticks, the lazy susan was electric meaning it turned automatically and plenty of rice wine and red wine. I opted for Beer, and I must say Good Call.

See in China, most of their meetings are held not in a board-room, but in a restaurant. This is where all of their decision making and deals happen in business. Usually a lot of food is eaten and A LOT of beer is drunk.  My Chinese friend said that if a person is going for a meal with their boss, that person NEEDS to be able to drink a lot. This shows, to their boss, that this person is a good, hard worker. If a person hardly drinks any, this will give the boss a bad impression of them. So in China, being able to handle your drink is very important! Although this generally only applies to men, as the lady’s need to be more ‘lady-like’.

At the meal, we were presented with Chinese tea by our bosses, they did a little toast and we started eating. Actually eating was a bit of a struggle, as every 3 minutes someone from the table would come over and toast just you. We were told that we should go and toast our bosses and say something like ‘it’s very nice to meet you…’ So then when I was finished toasting them all, id only be sitting down when ANOTHER person would toast me! This led to us drinking quite a lot of alcohol! After 3 big bottles of beer I was getting quite tipsy, now I’m not one who drinks all the time, so I rarely have 3 bottles of beer. I would fill my glass up with beer, and when I would do that, one of the Bosses kept going, ‘AISLING… GĀN BĒI’ This means ‘DRINK IT ALL’.  When I would fill the glass up again, he would say ‘GĀN BĒI AISLING’ .This happened me a lot. I kept forgetting not to fill it to the top. Most of the people were at least tipsy, including the Belgium’s, so it was a great laugh.

So we left at 9pm… 9PM! The students were just finished class and there we were laughing and joking, they were probably wondering what was wrong with us. It actually was a great night though, and the food was really nice. They keep the nice food for the VIP’s it seems.

Aisling.

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