From one non English speaking country to another.

 

So I’ve moved half way around the world to another non english speaking country. Although my body is in another country, my mind however, is still stuck in China.

Although the visibly different architecture, the gorgeous weather, and the facial difference’s between Mexican and Chinese; all of which SHOULD give it away that I am no more in China…. they surprisingly don’t.

Like China, I have no knowledge of Spanish. I never studied it at school and the only thing I knew (before meeting my boyfriend) was ‘Hola’ and ‘Como estas?’

So when I came to Mexico, I didn’t realise how confusing it was going to be.

I’ve spent a year in China and learning the basic Mandarin to get by. So, when I came to a Spanish speaking country, my mind was still thinking Chinese.

Someone would start speaking Spanish to me and, in my head, I would think ‘wo ting bu dong’. ( I don’t understand). Before I blurt it out I have to think You’re not in China.

In China, when I am with my boyfriend, I am the laowai (foreigner) and he is Chinese. Because he has darker skin, black hair and brown eyes, Chinese people think ‘’yes, he is definitely Chinese.” Me however, I stick out like a sore thumb.

When we are together, it is always him that the Chinese speak to. They don’t notice me because they know I most likely don’t speak Chinese, and because I’m ‘obviously’ with a Chinese person, they would rather speak to him.

So I became used to my boyfriend repeating ‘wo ting bu dong. ‘Wo bu hui shuo Zhongwen’. ( I don’t understand, I don’t speak Chinese.) I’m pretty sure he gets fed up with them presuming he is Chinese. Whereas I get away with their non stop blabbering to me.

So when we arrived in Mexico airport, my head was (and still is) in Chinese mode. In the airport, a man came over to us and talked in Spanish to my boyfriend. In my head I was thinking ‘aw god help him, he doesn’t know he can’t speak Spanish’

Then, to my amazement, my boyfriend replied to him, in Spanish! My automatic reaction is ‘Jesus he understands what he said’. Then I suddenly realise that of course, he’s a native Spanish speaker. It’s difficult to get used to this.

So, I’m in another country where I STILL don’t understand anyone, and I STILL cant read anything. But it’s 100% better than trying to read Chinese characters.

My head needs to find out what country I’m in.

Aisling.

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