God and Three architectural committees

When I pushed open the gate he said the church was closed, but when I replied in Mandarin he became more welcome to me: “Ok, have a look”. We spoke about churches in the Netherlands, and I told him that in the middle of every Dutch village, no matter how small, stands a church. I […]

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Writing on China

Most sports journalists ask dumb questions, like they’ll ask an athlete “Do you look forward to the match?” — and travel writing often lacks specifics, stacking superlatives: “The waterfall was amazing, and the forest stunningly beautiful.” Each way of writing or topic has its own problems. China writing is often caught in one of two […]

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Pillars on the horizon

‘Nine dikes port’ (九圩港) lays on the outskirts of Nantong, cornered by highways and the ever-expanding industrial harbor of the city. The area is a collection of vegetable gardens and rural houses, tied together by one-car-width roads, and it feels a bit like a campsite. Everyone who enters changes. They soften up, forget about work, […]

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I want to be vulnerable, not strong

There’s a parallel that when you sport and you get bruised, it won’t hurt until after the football match, or the day after the run. There are stories of motorcycles losing a foot on a bend armco, and they won’t notice it until they stop riding and want to use that foot to stand on. […]

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Three peaks and a railway station

I picked a random city on the map and bought high-speed train tickets. The whole country is off during the Middle-Autumn Festival (中秋节) and the last thing I wanted was crowds. Plus, China’s high-speed trains are really fast, its rails span far & wide —so all I wanted was a city with a station connected […]

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Ye Garden in Shanghai

This secret place is only a stone’s throw away from my home and @goeastmandarin. For the past half year I’ve passed by “Ye Garden” every day, but never noticed it, hidden behind the hospital. But this park is older than the hospital in front. Look at this photo from 1927. Actually, I first saw it […]

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This is me, in Chinese.

Two and a half years of learnings. I started in November 2018, but I took a half-year break in 2019 (I should not have done that). In two and a half years, I took 500 class hours, and around a dozen of books. I’m both proud and encouraged by my Chinese progress. By no means […]

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Experience of Spoken Chinese language courses at GoEast Mandarin

This summer, I joined GoEast Mandarin‘s summer intensive course intended for students who finished HSK4. Here’s my brief recap and whether you should do it too. Why Spoken Chinese and not HSK5? Several reasons. First, I live in China, but I don’t need the HSK exam for my visa, nor am I studying at a […]

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Ordinary people (老百姓)

For example, I like to buy notebooks, especially beautiful and expensive ones. But I’m afraid of writing down poor ideas, not worth such expensive and thus wasting such beautiful notebooks. So actually, cheaper notebooks are more useful than expensive ones. Very expensive restaurants or hotels are a bit like this as well. If they’re expensive […]

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How to speak to a person who is learning the language you speak

Introduction placed underneath the tips. 1: Avoid figurative language such as expressions & idioms It’s extremely difficult for foreign language speakers/listeners to understand figurative or abstract language. With this, I mean fixed expressions, idioms, sayings, proverbs, interjections. Anything not literal. Obviously, this applies to complex sayings like “You catch more flies with honey than with […]

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