爱尔兰,我爱你

ai er lan – wo ai ni. i love you ireland. it’s a nice alliteration in chinese and i finally feel settled and homey here. like i’m not “abroad” anymore, but at home now. it’s lovely. just lovely.

the weather is cold. even with rain, which normally warms things up, it’s frigid. today is the first time it really feels like winter – mostly it’s just been kind of a rainy extended autumn. not that i mind. but no, today the sun is out (for a grand total of 7 hours or so!) and the air is still and cold and icy. i love it when there’s no wind. wind is the devil. it makes the rain come from the side and underneath.

i was hired by the chinese newspaper, which is awesome and terrifying. i am supposed to be the marketing manager, which means i have to sell ad space and sponsorship for events and everything else. i’m terrible at selling and i’m also terrifying of using the phone in ireland because i can’t fucking understand people on the phone. i’m so amazed at these chinese people around me in work who use the phone all day to call up random strangers to do articles or sell things. it’s crazy! how do they understand!

anyway, i love the work, although it’s a bit strange. when i am in the office, it’s like being in china. all the computers are a weird mishmash of random monitors and unmatched keyboards. a whiteboard with chinese characters scrawled messily in red and blue is on the door, and a huge display of gold lettered icons splays “shining emerald group” with characters across one wall. smells of the hot pot restaurant float up from the ground floor. everyone speaks mandarin and i am the only white person in the building.

so, when i walk outside at lunchtime, it’s this very strange feeling of bombardment and confusion. suddenly everyone has an irish accent or speaks polish or french and they are all white and carrying huge bouquets of shopping bags. mariah carey belts out christmas songs from a nearby shopping centre and i can walk across the street for a shepherd’s pie and a guinness at lunch. it’s literally like a miniature, 45 second culture shock everyday and i love it.

school is winding down. i am writing a paper on mainland chinese people immigrating into hong kong and facing discrimination from hong kongers. i’ll be writing another essay on being raised as a white minority in hispanic culture (“growing up gringa” is my kitchy title), and a third one on the intercultural workplace… no ideas for that yet, but maybe something about my new occupation as a minority in a chinese workplace.

that’s more or less the news, friends. sorry, no photos this time ’round.

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