One thing that I have learned, nothing is what you expect in China. When I peg China to be one way, it completely changes to another. After an excellent evening of shopping at the Sanlitun market, my ATM account is feeling a little disappointed in me, but I am very proud. I haggled my way through the market speaking only Chinese and gaining three new friends. The bag lady, the shoe lady, and the suitcase lady – all of which greatly helped me practice my Chinese. Almost every single sales person today told me that I speak Chinese pretty well and one even thought I had lived in China for two years already! I was told by my friend at the suitcase shop, Zhang Xiao Li, that when I speak Chinese it catches people off guard and makes them want to give me better prices. She also said that I am surprisingly good at bargaining. She didn’t need to tell me any of this, I had already bought my new bright orange suitcase and was sitting in her family’s business waiting for my friend from Berkeley to meet me there. Also, very exciting, the girl I met who sold me two pairs of shoes is my new Chinese shoe dealer. Thank god, American shoes are a terror for me. Another very exciting thing that happened today was that I finally become comfortable enough that I thought in Chinese! I wasn’t trying to translate what I was saying from English to Chinese, but was just speaking! All in all, today was an incredible day and has made top three favorite memories of China.
The luggage girl! I even got all the girls business cards so I could keep in touch!