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Home >> Life
UPDATED: 18:14, January 25, 2005
I don't like to be called "laowai": Anna
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The girl from the Netherlands is called Anna, who studied in the Beijing Polytechnic University in 2002 and is now in the Renmin University. Before coming to China she studied the Chinese language in a school in the Netherlands. At the third year, she won a scholarship and came to China.

Anna, with a typical face of a European, speaks decent Beijing dialect. She says she loves the special pronunciation, for it sounds comfortable though not quite clear. "My Chinese is still very limited. As a matter of fact I don't have much chance practicing Chinese in school, because most Chinese students prefer talking to me in English. They speak very good English. But I still hope we can communicate in Chinese," she says modestly.

Having spent two years in Beijing, Anna has taken herself a member of the city. She doesn't like to be called "laowai" (a slang term in the Chinese meaning "foreigner"). "I feel very uneasy when called Laowai at streets or on a bus. I am not different from other people though I am an expat. I live in this city and love the city," Anna says. "Great changes have taken place here; and the people, especially the young people have changed too. They are willing to communicate with me, and they hope to know my country and myself."

Like many girls in Beijing, Anna loves shopping. But she doesn't like to go to the Silk Alley, since it's too crowded there. She prefers going to Xidan and the Tiancheng Market at the Beijing Zoo, the places where Beijingers love to go.

Bargaining" is something necessary at these places. Anna is surprisingly good at it. "I often go shopping at these markets. At the beginning the merchants charged a very high price for I am a foreigner. Then I bargained with them in Chinese. They spoke so fast that I couldn't understand what they said. But I did understand the price they gave. If they charged 90 yuan, I would cut 2/3 off and gave them 30 yuan. The merchants would give me a good price when they saw I spoke Chinese. In fact I only understood the price they offered," Anna smiles shyly. "Later I speak Chinese better and better gradually. If they give me a price that is unacceptable, I will tell them I don't have much money because I am a student, but I can introduce friend to buy their goods. The merchants will be pleased to hear this and I get a low price naturally."

Studying and living in Beijing, Anna has fallen in love with the city. She thinks Beijing is a modern city. Every day new changes take place. Despite the fact that some friends of her don't understand why she studies Chinese and they think it is helpless to her career, Anna believes more and more foreigners will come to China as China develops. Her belief has become firmer after she arrived in Beijing. She now plans to find a job in Beijing, to settle down in the city and to become a real Beijinger.

By People's Daily Online


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