I meet this question everyday, and I had to admit I hate to answer to this day by day. Not because saying where I am from is not ok for me. I have my own reasons.
1. Repeating myself bores me.
2. Chinese jump to conclusion from my answer (and others too).
3. I don't know how to answer to this question. (this should be the first one really)
Do they want to know which country was I born? Or they want to know where I lived before China?
My favourite answer: 'I am from planet earth'. or I'm from everywhere'. Strange answers, but true, and it makes me everybody's relative.
I'm kinda fed up with being divided by race and nationality. Does it really matter where are we from?
When I tell where I lived before, the next obvious question: Which one did you like most?
Again, not an easy question. I think every country has some good and some bad. I learnt from experience not to compare them. I did it with my first country, compared with my home country. And it just made it more difficult to accept their culture. When I stopped doing it, I started to enjoy living there.
So, my answer sounds something like this: There are many things I liked in Spain and in England, and there are things I didn't like. Same goes to China. But, if I have to choose where I would like to live, then I choose England.
I feel I'm in a foreign country! - Olyan mintha kulfoldon lennek!
My American friend came to see, I had no bottled water at home, I asked her to buy one from the supermarket. In general the supermarkets are usually very busy and have to wait a lot at the checkout. This time the supermarket was almost empty. In her surprise my friend said to the checkout assistant:
-"I feel I'm in a foreign country!"
The checkout assistant pull a 'what are saying' face. Thinking: 'you are a foreigner and you are in China. What's wrong with you?'
My friend realised what she said sounded awkward. So, she explained what she meant. She doesn't mentioned what was the checkout assistant reaction for that. But, I guess this time she got it, or maybe she's still thinking - 'foreigners are so strange'.
Amerikai barartnom meglatogatott, nem volt otthon palackozott viz. Igy megkertem vegyen egyett. Altalaban a szupermarketek tele vannak es sokat kell varni a penztarnal. Most azonban szinte ures volt a bolt. Meglepeteseben ezt mondta a penztarosnak:
- "Olyan mintha kulfoldon lennek!"
A penztaros furan nezett ra, gondolva: ' igen, kulfoldi vagy es kinaban vagy, jol erzed magad?'
Baratnom gyorsan eszrevette, hogy furan hangzott, amit mondott. Szoval megmagyarazta a penztarosnak, hogy mit akart pontosan mondani. Baratnom nem mondta, hogy mi volt a penztaros reakcioja erre. Gondolom megertette, hogy mire gondolt, vagy megsem, es tovabbra is ezt gondolja magaban -'ezek a kulfoldiek milyen furcsak'.
Place: Guangzhou, in a hotel where you can take long distance bus to Hong Kong
- Hi, I saw there is a bus to Hong Kong. - say it in Chinese to receptionist.
- Yes- answer the young man and hands me the timetable.
- Where does the bus go in Hong Kong? - I ask
- To Hong Kong- I got the answer from the female receptionist
- I mean, where can I get off the bus? - I enquire
- Where you bought your ticket- the answer
- To where can I buy my ticket - asking again and I feel I start to loose my temper.
Instead of answering they looking at me like I if was speaking an alien language.
- Ok, Hong Kong is big. This place has a name (pointing to the Hotel), yes? - I said
-Yes, - agrees the two receptionist
-So, in Hong Kong what's the name of the places where the bus stops? - I ask.
- Oh, - they say it with a surprised voice. - It's says here on the paper. - he shows on the paper.
- Sorry, I can't read Chinese. Can you read it for me?
Even after 3 years in China and having local friends still don't understand why I cannot get an answer for a simple question like this. Or my logic is to complicated? Actually, why do I need to ask questions when everything is on the paper, isn't it?