The Kindness of Strangers

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It’s tough living in China especially when I don’t like the food, don’t know the culture and worst of all, I don’t understand the language.

And then you meet these wonderful people who shows you small acts of compassion and kindness and I’m reminded that I should not let a few bad apples spoil the whole barrel.

A Free Ride

Today, I forgot my bus card and only had 10 yuan with me when I need 2 yuan for the bus fare. Since the driver does not deal with petty cash, he told me to sit down, which means I’ll have to look out for 8 people with cash in hand and not bus cards in order to get my 8 yuan change back!

Suddenly, a lady with the bus card paid for me! I was so surprised and offered her my 1 yuan 50 mao in return but she said it’s OK. I was so grateful and touched because i was such a surprise. I couldn’t stop saying “thank you” and she looked right embarrassed that I decided to stop acting like an idiot :S Oh gosh, I can’t help it, isn’t it nice of her???

Would you like a cup of tea?

For the past few months, I have been having the WORST time ever at work that I begged Hubby to let me resign. Of course I couldn’t and so I just had to grit my teeth and just do it. If not for a few foreign colleagues I could meet and exchange sighs or pants of fatigue, I wouldn’t have lasted this long.

The nicest person who kept me afloat is the tea lady. She’s like a receptionist but she also helps with keys and other odd stuff. I got to know her after I nearly died of thirst one day and asked if I could have some water and she said that I could get it anytime I liked. When she found out that I was a foreigner, she was all praises for my Chinese LOL

Then, every morning I passed her, she’d wave to me and invite me to take hot water and sit down to have a chat. She’d also teach me how to read some simple Chinese words from the cardboard boxes surrounding us in the poky little room. I’ve now been transferred to another block but when I meet her, she’ll greet me with the loudest hello and biggest smile.

It’s really nice to know someone when you’re swarmed by a big, bustling crowd of Chinese-speaking people who seem to have many, many friends. I don’t feel like such a loser :P

Here’s a shortcut…

Another kind soul is this lady who works in the administration block. She was horrified when she heard that I’d been taking this longggggg route to the bus stop that she actually walked a good 10 minutes with me to show me a shorter route. Furthermore, she brought me to a couple of bicycle shops because I thought of getting a bicycle then ;-)

Yet another lady sat down and explained the meaning of a certain custom, which helped me understand something so much better. Eureka! I was having trouble earlier and didn’t really see the fun of it but after she simplified things for me, I had a lot of fun.

Are you lonely?

Then, one of my students actually came to accompany me during my break time because she didn’t want me to be lonely. I thought that was really sweet even though I was fine on my own.

Another group of students even gave up having an early lunch so that they could walk me to the place where I should take the bus to Timbuktu (sic).

Chinese Mary Poppins

How about the kind lady who helped to watch my kids in church just so that I could have a free moment to appreciate beautiful music and quiet prayer?

She was so sweet because she actually whisked the two kiddos away and brought them back with both hands full of grapes and candy!!!

This lovely lady is especially taken by the little girl and will not fail to call her, pinch her cheeks or carry her each time we meet. But she loves the boy too and will dotingly comfort him whenever I frown, glare or scold him for being a naughty fella.

I *must* remember to buy her a nice Christmas present because she’s really nice to the kids. Hmm…what do you think an elderly Chinese lady will like?

A Helping Hand

Lastly, another lady helped to write down some stuff I was curious about in both English and pinyin so that I’d be able to get what I need. Another godsend!

Thanks to wonderful people, things are clearer to me now and I am fumbling less as I go about my daily life.

May God bless and keep these kind, thoughtful people. Amen.

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