Natalia has now arrived to start her Beijing internship and wanted to let us know that she's doing well but the weather is very cold and windy! However, it's not as cold Russia (her hometown) so she's not too bothered by it. She's having trouble understanding Chinese people but is enjoying the food and trying new delicacies every day.
One thing she was surprised to learn was that very few Chinese people are able to speak English, a lot less than she imagined anyhow. She said the people in the shops, in telephone companies, in banks... they don't understand any English at all and she doesn't speak Chinese or can read street signs or bus information so it's been a little difficult! "The Chinese language is very difficult to learn so I was hoping that most Chinese people could speak a little English just like we can speak some English in Russia even though it isn't our mother tongue." (Gi2C tip: We've found that most younger Chinese (under age 30) are able to understand English, but may be too shy to answer you or too afraid of making mistakes and losing face. Usually, if you seem friendly enough, most younger Chinese people will help you and try to understand what you are asking them in English.)
Natalia's initial impression of Beijing was the airport which is very impressive and looks like any other international airport, however, Beijing is a very special international city - very Chinese. "Beijing is very different from Moscow, which is a European city in terms of eating, habits and everything else. Beijing has nothing in common with Moscow that I have seen so far. I suppose Beijing is bigger than Moscow and there are way more people in the subway of Beijing than in Moscow!"
Natalia's first stop after getting off the plane and settling in at the hotel was to eat Chinese food! Chinese food is delicious, we support that decision. She has been eating lots of noodles with vegetables and seafood but chose to turn down the donkey when her colleagues offered it to her. (=