Night out on the town

Night out on the town

Since I made friends with some of the Chinese girls in an English class, we all decided to go to Darunfa, a shopping center in Zibo.

Their English names are Natalie, Diana, and Leta; since they rarely speak English among themselves, they enjoy being around a native English speaker so they can practice the language.

They are also so friendly and smile often when we’re together. Natalie seemed to be the most talkative out of the three girls, but each had their share of questions about the English language, American culture, my time in China, my family and my future plans after college.

I told them I may teach English in China after college, and they were delighted to hear that. Their future plans are to possibly start working in Beijing. Natalie told me she intends to be a CPA.

Like young Americans, the Chinese youth is considering career opportunities because the job market is extensively competitive.

Darunfa is basically a Chinese mall except there is a supermarket on the second floor. We walked around for a while and tried on all sorts of shoes. There were so many different shoe stores on the first floor, and I noticed that Chinese women wear all sorts of shoes from sneakers to high heels.

Unfortunately, my feet were too big for all of the shoes on display. Chinese women tend to have much smaller feet than my oversized-nine ones. Every time I tried on a sandal, my friends and I laughed at my foot being jammed in such a tight space.

It was hilarious! We also ate noodles at a restaurant in the shopping center, and took loads of silly pictures together.

Even though I was brought up in a different cultural background than my Chinese friends, I am so thankful that I met them. I call any person I speak to or spend time with a friend because they treat me with friendship, whether they are SDUT students, Zibo City residents, children, and professors.

Their acceptance to me, as a foreigner, allows me to talk to people I hardly know with ease. When I interact with them, it feels like I’ve known them for a long time. Such interactions help me to begin to understand what it means to be Chinese and broaden my understanding of my culture and myself. I will forever remember the friends I’ve met here.

    — Sarah Halter, a senior English major