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…

Well, it is only the rule so…

I sometimes think that the expression “Rules are meant to be broken” comes from China. Even though there are many ways in which people listen or accept things at face value, there is certainly a lot of room for opposition as well. Of course, this manifests in somewhat negative ways as well. Going off the beaten path in the mountains (although mother nature put this sign here urging you not to), shaking the trees for flowers or red leaves (ignoring another sign that says trees have feelings too) or simply squatting on the toilet seat (how do you do that…

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. 2

“Well,” I said to him “I am only renting this place so I will talk to the housing agency and let them get back to you.” The guy stared at me blankly and replied gruffly: “Who are you renting this from?” I told him my agency’s name and he gave no sign of recognition at all. “Give me your landlord’s number, I will contact him directly.” At this point I started to get a bit fed up with him. Mind you, it was not even 7.30 and I still had no leaking problem in my house. I think we went…

Nothing to be done pt. 1

*BOOM BOOM BOOM* I took a look at my phone. It was 6:50. Also, my alarm did not sound like a cannon. I tried to picture myself sleeping and dreaming that sound, but it was a little bit too real. *BOOM BOOM BOOM* “Hello anybwody hwome? Wopen de doowr!” Note: this is not too make the person sound drunk, rather it was quite a heavy Shanghainese accent and I was not being very diligent in my listening. Why was this person so confident that people are happy to open their doors at 6:50 for strangers? Now it happens to be…

We take your time

So time is money and it is often said that there is nothing more valuable than time. At the same time, we spend too much of our day on the phone, behind screens and with way too many triggers that ask our attention. Well, I have the perfect solution for you to relive a feeling of utter boredom and frustration. It is called: waiting. Specifically at many official or large institutions. Think of governmental organisations, banks, hospitals, mobile providers etc. The wonderful thing in China is, you can do this on the weekends, in your own time. Although, I would…