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Zhu Qin Zhe
When my father was in Sweden last September, he enjoyed drinking Swedish fresh milk very much, and gradually, he also began to like butter, cheese, yoghurt, and many other dairy products. He could drink one liter of milk each day, and a huge bowl of yoghurt. He also had butter spread upon bread, which he would never do in China.
“What left the deepest impression upon you in Sweden?” his friends asked him at his return. “The milk”, he replied without hesitation, “oh, and the beef”, he added, smiling.
In Longyan we do have fresh milk sold at supermarket, yet the so-called fresh milk tastes more like milk powder dissolved with warm water, leading to no milky taste at all. So when my father took a sip at Swedish milk, he could not let it go. He even thought about buying a can full of milk powder home to Longyan, for he assumed that Swedish milk powder ought to be tasty as well. But he failed to find any.
“Swedes would not want to drink powder milk when their fresh milk is cheaper and tastier.” I explained to him. He finally gave it up, and I bought some more boxes of milk for him to drink before he headed back to Longyan.
I heard that he has lost the interest of drinking Longyan milk since he tried the Swedish one, and right now, he is trying hard to find the alternative. And I found one in Beijing! Unfortunately, longyan is way too faraway to have the milk delivered there.
My mother does not like milk generally, no matter whether or not it is from Sweden or China. But she still admits that Longyan milk does taste less milky, and that is the only milk product she can accept, yes, because it tastes less milky, and creamy.
I personally think that it is just a matter of habits. When I came to Sweden for the first time, I also turned myself against milk products, until right now, I can’t live a day without a bowl of milk, be it Longyan milk or Swedish fresh milk. It has become a habit that I can’t get rid of, something I like to stick to. I hope that I could gain enough nutrients from fresh milk so that I could grow a bit taller,a bit taller, that’s all. Nah, I am joking.
I always think that it is very percuiliar with the autumn term in Swedish universities. It starts at the end of August, while normally Chinese schools, and many schools in other countries start in September, and ends after Christmas and New Year. Then the second term, namely the Spring Term starts two or three days later. But that is not something I will be complaining about here at the moment. I am not going to complain about anything actually, instead, I think I really have a good time receiving education in Sweden, because the freedom and opening of how to use the knowledge is very common here and I do appreicate the way it is being done.
For example, my course- media and communication studies, is often filled with theories, case analyses and tons of readings of successful media researches. And we are often asked to write papers that are related a certain subject. In this case, we would ask to take a media example and combines the theories from the book to analyze the case. The wonderful part is that the theories are dead and fixed, but the understandings could be varied. We are encouraged to interprete the theories in our own ways, and however we are using the theories, we will never hear something like " no, you are wrong about the theories, no, you can't interprete them in this way" thing from the teachers. Instead, we are often given "it is interesting," as a common, and the teachers would be rather proud and surprised if they find a different opinion of interpretation of the theories.
That's what is different from Chinese schools most of the times, where we are supposed to define what is exactly right and what is exactly wrong. So every time I am presenting something in Chinese schools, something I am not certan of , I would have to look at the teacher inquiringly, fearing that they might fail me because I say something unpleasingly "wrong". My mind truly has been expanded since I studied in Sweden and my confidence rises. It is so important to be opened to different subjects and perspectives of the views. That's how you study, isn't it?
I moved to a new place in Stockholm. It is a place, as I have observed for the past three months, where most immigrants live. I rarely have seen blonde Swedish people or heard Swedish spoken without an accent. Last night, I went downstairs to the laundry room with a large bag of unwashed clothes. The person ahead of me was still not finished with her washing, so she left the door opened, and asked me if I could lend her the drying machines for the last hour while I could still use the washing machine. I happily agreed.
As I was putting the clothes to the washing machine, she even came up to help me with the work. She said that I looked tiny and must have big difficulty in carrying so much laundry and doing the work alone. I thanked her and left the laundry as I started the machine. One hour later when I came down for the change of the clothes, she was still there folding many clothes. As I was trying to scoop out all the wet clothes from the machine, she came to help me again, and told me in which methods I should better handle the trouble. Then we began to talk. She is as old as me but has already got four children. After exchaning some personal basic informtion, she told me that she lived on the 7th floor and I could go to her if I needed any help with anything.
Later that night, as I was installing my newly-bought digital piano, I realized that it was impossible for me to put the top unit onto the panels by myself, no matter how hard I tried. It was heavy and fragile, either I would have destroyed the keyboard, or I would have smashed my own feet. Reminded of what I heard earlier from the girl, I went down to her apartment door and rang the bell. Her lovely children opened the door, and she immediately argeed to come up to help me, bringing along her strong husband and four shy but excited little boys and girls.
With the help of her husband, the installation was fixed within seconds. I thanked them gratefully and gave one toy called Jumping Ball to the children. That was how I made friends with the family, who is not from Sweden, but some middle-east country.
I was thinking, it is not a typical Swedish thing that they would start up a conversation with random people at the laundry room if they run into each other. That is probably one of the characteristics I need to get myself used to when I live in a world of immigrants!
It is the 5th Swedish Christmas I am celebrating.
It feels very much like the Chinese New Year back at home. It must be a great idea that I am celebrating Christmas here and then in one month or so I will be celebrating the Chinese New Year in Longyan. Fantastic!
The best thing about a country's culture is their traditional holidays. Those are the times when a foreigner can experience the very most conspicous cultures of the country. I do love Christmas, and I do enjoy the Chinese New Year, of course!
Wish everybody a merry Christmas, and a wonderful 2015!
I stayed in Beijing for two years, and now in Sweden for almost 5 years. So snowing is a very normal thing for me, and I started to dislike snowy days because there are always a lot of issues in outdoor activities when the snow covers the city. But, I come from south China, not the middle southern part, but the very south, almost at the bottom of the the vast land. That's where snow never falls, where the residents would assume that snow is the most beautiful thing that would ever happen from the heaven. They admire the whiteness, they dream of plodding forward in the melted snow lumps, they want so much to do the so-called snow fight and make the snowmen and be covered and beaten by the seemingly light snowflakes. How wonderful it sounds. When I took the pictures of the scene outside my window and put them up at the wechat friend space zone, almost everyone screamed with excitement and praised the beauty in front of their eyes.
"Oh it is beautiful beyond description!" they exclaimed
"Oh I envy you so much!" they wrote, adding a jealous facial expression
"It is sooo cool!" some of the ones who never speak with me on the instant messenger couldnt help but leave a comment.
I had to reply to them and told them that snowing is not as dreamy as they have imagined. Yes, the scene can be beautiful, but there are a lot of troubles occurring because of snow. No, they wouldn't understand, as I would not have understood if I had spent my whole life living in the zone where the lowest temperature is 20 degree in the coldest months of the year.
Christmas is coming next week, and my Chinese friends, yes those who are in China, are also looking forward to this western holiday which is not within the traditional days-off for them in the land. For me, I don't have specific plans for the holiday, except that I am stuck up in two school essays each of which requires at least 4,500 English words for the subjects that are within my major, fortunately, but difficult , unfortunately. Guess that the Christmas holiday will be packed up with both fun (free days from school), delicacy (christmas food) and burden (the school work!).
Wish everybody a merry christmas and a happy new year!
God Jul och Gott nytt år!
At the end of last month, I, for the favour of one of my Chinese friends here in Stockholm, followed a group of delegation from Jiaxing, Zhejiang Province to the city of Gävle. The delegation has been in touch with several sino-Sweden organizations and companies, as well as the staff at the Gälve Local Bureau Authorities for their intention of establishing a partnership between Gävle and Jiaxing. The representatives from Jiaxing delegation include several important authority leaders from Jiaxing Business Bureau, Jiaxing Foreign Affair Office etc. The purpose of my following them was to take some pictures of their activities and publish a piece of related news for my friend's newspaper.
It was the very first time for me to hang out with people from Chinese authorities, and I had to be with them for as much as 14 hours - sharing the same car with them, eating the same food as well as visiting and seeing the same sites. I had earlier heard that such people could be very hard to deal with, because they all stand high in the position and are used to using their personal or unpersonal power and rights. I got very nervous when I first introduced myself to them, but gradually, I found that they were quite affable. It was also quite pleasant to talk with them about everyday topics.
When they arrived at the Gälve central hall for the authorities, they became sort of taken aback by the 3-storey house - don't get me wrong, they were not impressed, instead, they began first to doubt the whereabouts and the actual power this "so-called" authorities might have. One of the delegates said, in a very disappointed tone, "so... this is the authority central of Gävle?" In the house there was a Sino-Sweden company. The international relation manager, who was also a Chinese person, received us. When she showed us around their company and their "tiny offices", another person from the delegation said, in a very implicit way, "the little office is really lovely." When we finished the meeting and walked out of the house, the manager explained to the seemingly slighted disappointed delegation that in Sweden, there are very few skyscrapers, and that most of the houses are as tall as 5 to 7 floors. Only at this time did the delegation become relieved.
In many Chinese people's eyes, skyscrapers with shining glass windows, wide and beautifully-paved roads and large-sized rooms are the symbol of prosperity, richness and modernism. That's why when they come to Sweden and see all those "short" buildings and small-sized office rooms, they would first be stricken with the idea that probably this is not as modernized as they are supposed to be. But of course, such ideas need to be corrected, and I am sure that they will understand the modernism inside this "ancient-looking" places as soon as they start to work and cooperate with each other. Wish them good luck!
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