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Memories of Xi’an

July 28, 2012

“Will you miss Xi’an?” and “Which one do you like more, Beijing or Xi’an?” are two common questions I got in my last days in Xi’an, and after I am back in Beijing. My answer in short is, “When I first arrived in Xi’an, I didn’t like it and missed Beijing. I didn’t like the food, didn’t like the location (of the office against other places), and hated the smoggy winter. But now, I love Xi’an more than Beijing and am afraid I will miss it.

Why?

Friends I’ve made along the way.

TW Xi’an office is great for making new friends, as they are generally younger :p than Beijing office’s and have more flexibilities to do activities together. We went for karaoke 唱歌, paintball, strawberry picking 朝美, played badminton 一毛球, table-tennis 兵马求, hiking the mountain 爬山, go-karting 卡丁车 (and bump-bumping car 碰碰车), even as silly as sliding in the kids’ park :p. Missing our childhood playtime is not goofy there. Not sure why, I get to see more of: couples got together, broke up, got engaged, had a baby. I also got to see more dynamics at work: new hires joined every few weeks, uprising team leads, a variety of trainings going on regularly, etc.

Pictures won’t do the justice, but still better than mere words. Just see these select few.

          

A client once commented the big difference between relationships among colleagues in the western compared to that in TW China. He acknowledged that here [in TW China], people are open to talking about personal relationships, not restricted to only business or technical matters, so transitioning from work hours to fun hours is easy. I take it as ‘no beer necessary’ :D.

Learning Mandarin

from local colleagues is different. It is slower than taking classes with a teacher, but is faster in terms of knowing useful local/in-fashion phrases or interesting sayings.

While talking about the Art district in Beijing called 798, a friend explained to me the 3 different types of people: 普通青年 (putong qingnian),文艺青年 (wenyi qingnian),and 2B 青年 (erpi qingnian).
I now have a Chinese weibo (like twitter) account. I’ve always pronounced my nickname, 超级elian, wrongly. Only later did I learn the difference between 炒鸡 (chao3ji1, fried chicken) with 超级 (chao1ji3, super). I do like fried chicken though, LOL.


On Sun Long’s last day with the company, I asked, “What is a common way to say farewell in Mandarin?” He taught me a proverb:

“青山不改,绿水长流”, which literally means “the green mountain does not change, the green water will keep flowing”

Thus translates to say that the friendship remains the same. It’s a beautiful saying. I was sad to see him leave. I was sad myself to leave Xi’an, but greatly consoled by everyone who assured me of our long-term friendships.

My teammates compiled a picture album for me, which was truly absolutely sweet. Not sure if they know, but I love pictures and have indeed been looking for a scrapbook album. They picked the perfect gift. I couldn’t be more delighted. In the last couple of days in Xi’an, before I packed the album in the box to ship, I flipped through the pages, looked at their faces one by one, imagined the smiles, the chats, what we know of one another.. and I got sentimental. It _is_ hard to part.

Beautiful walkways, parks, and mountains.

See my previous post about it.

~ ~ ~

There are other reasons why Xi’an will always hold a special place in my heart. A number of them will not make it to the blog, as I don’t have any pictures to prove them. The mountains are probably the most I will miss from Xi’an. Beijing has some around it, too, but they are far. Plus, it won’t be spent with the same people :). People, of whose stories are not easy to tell in a few words, make up a big portion of it. But as I always do, I’d give special mention to:

  • He Fei, my first co-lead in Xi’an, for being my friend, welcoming and trusting me, and being a joy in the team
  • Zhou Zhewu, a friend I value for being open and down-to-earth, besides being witty and funny and lovable.
  • Wen Di, my proud sponsee, for sharing perspectives about life and the future, and being my friend and company when I am alone; not to mention drawing the fan 扇子 together, it was such a happy time.
  • Chen Jinzhou, for showing what it means to be persistent in fighting the good fight, even in the face of uncertainties; and for encouraging me to follow my heart. I look up to him for the tireless pursuit and vision of greater good. We both have our share of calling in this world. May God bless you abundantly in yours.
  • Cui Liqiang, the other co-lead in my team, for showing the persistence and diligence in learning, and for telling me “Nothing is helpless. Helpless is nothing.” (—is this a Chinese proverb?) That got me re-thinking my doubts.
  • Luo Wenjing, for having the heart and persistence in serving children with special needs. Her sincerity and willingness emphasize that it is not our skills that matter most, but our presence and love to those who need.

It’s an honor to know them all. This quote fits my thought so perfectly:

We all take different paths in life, but no matter where we go, we take a little of each other everywhere.   ~Tim McGraw

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