After arriving on the Amtrak Acela train at the Rt. 128 station just south west of
In my perspective, however, instead of sincerely thanking these people for their efforts, I gave them a cold shoulder. Even though I acknowledged their aid, I didn't move to be engaging or even that considerate. Instead, I had this unrelenting annoyance towards these people for not minding their own business. Why were they bothering me with help? Thanks but no thanks. I don't need your help.
In retrospect, I know exactly where this annoyance came from. Although people in the
When I first moved to the Dongmen area of Shenzhen, the vibrant pedestrian only shopping district, I tried to ask people a lot about where I wanted to go. I would walk up to a group of 3 girls. They were about my age and were having a fun conversation with a lot of fun and laughing. When I walked up to them, saying “excuse me, can you help point me towards [insert location],” they looked at me in a strange contempt. Most people would not answer and would quickly walk away. Others would roll their eyes and speak in a quick and detached way to get rid of me. Sometimes there seemed disgusted and showed it with cold, hateful stares.
Maybe it was me, but I was usually dressed well and didn't look like a creepy guy from the country side who could’ve been a thief. Maybe it was my Chinese, but my mandarin (putonghua) is very standard without any dialect. Although I have had good experiences of people being helpful in Shenzhen, a majority of people have developed a similar sensibility as I displayed in the elevator. Just leave me alone and I’ll do it. I don't need or want to depend on any of you.
I am kind of annoyed with my attitude and hope to change it. I also hope this change sticks and it will ultimately bring a little bit of “American Hospitality” over to
However, after talking to a fellow expat in Shenzhen last night, I realized I not only needed to focus on cross-cultural differences (ie cultural shock), but also cultural assimilation/adaptation. Each and everyone of us are becoming a little more Chinese everyday we are here.