Pushing and pulling, but no punches

This morning, I read an article about the bleak reality of gang violence in Latin-America. Yeah, the best way to start off your Sunday for sure. But it did make me think, there is not that much fighting in China, normally. Of course, certain exceptions exist (a few months ago I experienced one myself) however, physical fighting is just not very common on the streets. Sure, people always tell me that Chinese sound like they are constantly angry at each other, but that is just the ‘beauty’ of Chinese and the fact that most people do not feel the need…

Animated Animals: birds of a feather talk together

Outdoors, nothing is as easy as it once seemed. There are decibel meters everywhere. It is finally more acceptable to stare at your phone all the time, since it is safer to chat with each other digitally. However, especially in China many pets and birds in particular serve a distinct social function. These birds of course learn to talk and twitter away quite literally, which is fine as long as they are confined. Some do escape however, which created pockets in the wild where it is allowed to talk out loud. So after your first work day, you decide to…

Nothing to be done pt. 4

“When are you coming around?” Something I am not saying to anyone I would like to actually come, but my (un)trusty repairmen of course. “Do you know if your neighbors are home?” Surely one of the most logical responses to that question ever. Sidenote, no I do not know if they are home. So after a few messages on WeChat, setting a date and then not coming, setting a new date and still not coming, setting a final date and somehow showing up it was fixed. What was funny though, is that my contact person of the housing agency sent…

Hush, hush, hush

Peace and quiet. Two things people definitely do not come to China for. The whole environment here is just plain noisy. From people to pets, from cars to cicadas there is always something happening and you can hear it. I live in a ‘traditional’ 6-story building in Shanghai and there is always some pipes making a noise, or the airco outside, or my neighbors getting up at 7 to dance to very loud music. In Shanghai, it is prohibited to honk for the greater part of the city center, but in Beijing that is definitely not the case. The symphony…

Nothing to be done pt. 3

So being a good tenant, I took the advice of my housing agency and just started up my washing machine. Not even 30 minutes passed when I heard some familiar tapping on the door and saw the same face in a state that combined anger with frustration and a touch of sadness. “You are using your washing machine!” It sounded as if I had started a war with my unknown neighbors below.  I started explaining that I was just following advice I had gotten, but he started to mumble and walk around as if he could just take up my…