Are Subtitles Included? And Other Adventures Aboard the Aircraft

Katie Minor
January 14, 2017
Fourteen hours on an airplane and I was bound to Beijing, my new home for four months. Words can't describe how I felt when I waved goodbye and smiled to my parents. I was ready- or as ready as I’d ever be. I was the only one out of my friends in Texas that choose to study abroad in China, so I was excited to make new friends and tell my friends back home about my Beijing adventures. The airplane ride was interesting, to say the least. I forgot how long the flight felt. I spent a majority of my time aboard the aircraft discovering and trying out new sleeping positions. Who knew you could sleep with your head at what seems to be a 45-degree angle? Whatever works is my go to motto so far. The airplane food was great and being treated to two different meals made me excited to what was ahead in China. Like they say, American style Chinese cuisine doesn't even compare to the authentic Chinese food. So far, in Beijing I was able to eat an egg type omelet for breakfast, Peking duck (a classic), and of course pizza because who doesn't like eating pizza? I’m looking forward to trying unique food that I can find only in different markets around Beijing. My first experience with a Chinese native was one I won’t forget. I knew it wouldn’t be long until I could practice my Chinese on someone. Turns out it was much shorter than I expected! An older woman approached me when I was waiting in line for the bathroom and avidly started chatting to me. I smiled and nodded, having no idea what she was talking about. She then began to point, talked quickly, and moved towards my seat. Did she want me to move somewhere or do something? I said in English “I’m sorry but I don't speak Chinese.” She kept repeating what she said before and I realized that my only hope to avoid more confusion was to use my limited set of Chinese vocabulary. I said something like “我的中文不好”(my Chinese is very bad). She smiled and patted me on my back. Mission accomplished! I was proud of myself and I was confident that people would be able to understand me in China. The movies and shows that were offered on Air China were, of course, in Chinese. Or at least had subtitles. I watched a TV show about Chinese children and their families going aboard to America to live and study. I thought it was very fitting, as I was in the same situation except I was headed to China. I was intently listening to their Chinese, as if to test myself. I could only pick up a couple of phrases that they said but I could definitely understand what was happening when I read the subtitles. I thought to myself, if only people spoke with subtitles, I would have no trouble at all! But I feel like speaking and trying to communicate is part of the experience. Before I even set foot in Beijing, I told myself that things are different. My life in Beijing will be different than my life in America. It is always important to remember that things aren’t necessarily better or worse, it is just different. It’s change I am definitely looking forward to!

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<p>Hey everyone! I&rsquo;m a junior and I currently attend Trinity University, a small school in San Antonio, Texas. I consider myself a sociologist in training, and I&rsquo;m interested in learning and experiencing new cultures! This blog depicts my experiences in China, specifically Beijing, China&rsquo;s capital city, a long way from home! Hope you enjoy and feel free to comment!</p>

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