As I have so many times mentioned here, we as a couple tend to be a bit anti-social. You know, to the point where I wrote a blog post about avoiding people on the road.
However, something has happened. Over the past few years, we have found ourselves more and more often in situations where a certain level of social activity is required. Even more so, when we left Finland this time, I made a conscious decision to talk to people. Yes, you heard me, I, with the support of my husband, decided to talk to people, put myself out there and just learn more about the life outside Finland.
I decided to take it as a social experiment – or, if you wish, an anti-social experiment, since that’s what we are, a couple of anti-social Finns.
Although my dear enginerd was somewhat suspicious about my plans to actually talk to people (I know, I know, it is weird), we have both noticed that keeping it to ourselves may not always be the best path. I have learned so much Chinese just by talking to people, and on top of that, even made friends (gasps in shock… again). These two things were something I thought to be next to impossible. Turns out, they are not.
Right now I’m seeing two different language partners, both insanely cool people and teaching me new stuff face to face and chatting on Line or Facebook (which by the way, in Chinese is of course literally a face book…). On top of that, I chat online every day with several other people in Chinese, which is pretty awesome cause it actually gives me time to stop and consider my grammar. It is also nice to talk with people who seem to genuinely like Finland (a super fan of Ville Valo is one of my regular chat buddies), or share common interests like going to the gym.
Naturally, Chinglish (a mixture of Chinese and English, just like Finglish is a mixture of Finnish and English, duh) is often the most used language in these interactions, but the actual Chinese part is increasing. Thanks to our several visits to the NTU Hospital (super recommend) my hospital Chinese is getting better and better, even to the extent where I can now book a doctor’s appointment over the phone in Chinese. Side note: since you can register online, too, and all the staff speaks at least basic English, and according to one of the nurses, all doctors speak English, too, Chinese is actually very little needed. We have also regularly googled the doctors we’re about to visit, to make sure they’ve attended some international conferences or published in English, to make sure the communication will go smoothly. If you need to know more about traveler’s health, check out this post and this one, too, from last year.
Our little (anti)social experiment hasn’t just offered us language partners, but brought us genuine friendships, too. As we are trying to settle down here in Taiwan, this has been crucial. Saying yes to offers including social interaction, you know, like, talking to people and other weird stuff (like a bar manager half forcefully dragging you and your significant other to an other table to meet new people cause you two looked lonely), has been interesting and rewarding, and proven our decision right ❤
So, in the end, making yourself to talk to people, interact, socialize and just go out there, (believe it or not, we have actually done this a couple of times without alcohol, too 😉 ), hasn’t been that bad at all. Who would’ve guessed..?
PS: We still enjoy locking ourselves up, not talking to people and just eating our noodles in peace, while watching Top Gear on Netflix. So in the end, nothing big has changed 😀
PPS: My next language related project, besides studying Chinese, will be to learn more about how to use punctuation marks in English.
PPPS: Talking about friendship and languages: As my beautiful maid of honor is soon getting married herself, I was asked to join the bachelorette party via Skype. As the party happened in Germany, and all the guests were German, and since I don’t speak a word of the language, I thought it would be a great idea to give a speech in German (natürlich, ja?). At six in the morning, over Skype. So, I wrote the speech in English, had another amazing German translate it for me, and help me learn how to pronounce German. Said amazing German actually took a week of her time to help me with the speech. So, I have now given a speech in a language I don’t speak, over Skype, a bit hungover, at six in the morning. I was told it went well and people did laugh at right parts 🙂 . This all thanks to Germany being filled with these insanely cool people, who are totally worth it ❤ ❤