When I’m asked to describe (mainland) Chinese culture, there are some not so nice things that come to mind such as their terrible driving and no concept of lining up. However, since I’ve been in Shanghai for just over a week now there have thankfully been more occasions where I’ve come into contact with kind strangers rather than unkind ones. I’d just like to highlight one particular example from last Tuesday.
After informing my friend, Henry (still in Australia), that my phone battery had died he immediately contacted his family in Shanghai who offered to lend me a spare phone for the duration of my stay. So I met up with Henry’s aunty and his dad who translated the Shanghainese into English for me and they patiently waited close to an hour for my sim card to get sorted. After this I was expecting for us all to part ways – me back to my dorm to look for a place to eat dinner and aunty and uncle to go back to their individual homes. Instead, Henry’s aunty calls her husband – who has already prepared dinner for the two of them at home – to tell him she’ll be accompanying me to dinner since I had only been in Shanghai for a few days and hadn’t yet tried many local foods. I couldn’t believe how kind and generous she was! How many strangers do you know who would go that extra mile for someone they have never met let alone someone who you can’t communicate too clearly with? Am I one of those people?
I’m so thankful and blessed to be shown a side of the kind and warmhearted Chinese hospitality, one that I didn’t expect to find in such a busy and affluent city. I really enjoyed the time I spent together with aunty as we conversed in Mandarin – it was the middle ground between Shanghainese and English – and shared a meal together. She pointed out many different buildings as we walked the streets and treated me to a delicious Shanghai dinner of daxiashengjian, guotie, xiaolongbao and yuyuan miantang. I hope in the future I will show this same kind of generosity to others!
*I can’t seem to insert media whilst in China so I’ll attach photos when I return!