第一步 – The First Step

第一步 A’ Chiad Cheum

It’s hard to believe that it’s almost been a month since I said 再见 (Goodbye) to Scotland, my family and my friends, and 你好 (Hello) to my new life in 天津, a city of 15 million people. It’s been a huge change but so far, every day has held something new and exciting. 

大家好! Fàilte mhòr oiribh uile!

Tha e doirbh dhomh creidsinn gu bheil faisg air mios air dhol seachad on a thuirt mi 再见 (tìoraidh) gu Alba agus mo theaghlach is caraidean agus 你好 (hàlo) gu an 15 millean daoine a tha a’ fuireachd ann an 天津 (Tianjin) ! ‘S e atharrachadh fìor-mhòr a th’air a bhith ann ach gu ruige seo tha gach dìog air a bhith spoirsail agus ùr.

We arrived in 中国 (China) weary and exhausted on a very hot morning, surrounded in Beijing airport by what felt like thousands of people. It was a very accurate introduction to China – or at least my experience here- as the temperature is normally no lower than 26 degrees during the day, which is quite a change from the 13 degree heat we normally have this time of year in Glasgow. The hustle and bustle of the city is constant – there are always people wherever you go but aside from rush hour subway rides (!) it’s never uncomfortable. I quite like the fact that there’s always people going about their business, but it never seems rushed.  I always feel like there’s something interesting and somewhere to explore down every lane and side street but even with all the time in the world you couldn’t follow every exciting smell, flashing light or interesting building in 中国。

Ràinig sinn 中国 (Sìona),  sgìth ach air bhiorann, air madainn fior bhlàth le na bha faireachdainn mar mìltean de daoine timcheall oirinn. ‘S e fior deagh fàilte a bh’ann an seo oir ‘s e sin mar a th’air e bhith airson an mìos mu dheireadh. Tha an teirmiméadar air a bhith suidhe faisge air co-dhiu 26 neo 27 puing gach latha, gu tric nas àirde agus chan eil an t-uisge air a bhith ann cha mu 4 àmannan san mios gu leir – gu math diofraichte bho na bha mi cleachte ri ann an Glaschu! Tha an t-uabhas de doaine an seo ach, sin air ràdh, chan eil mi riamh air faireachdain gu bheil cùs daoine ann an seo – a bharrachd air a bhith air an trèna nuair a tha daoine deiseil san obair (cha channain ‘s gur e an rud cho co-furthail san t-saoghal a th’ann).  Tha an luaths and stior gam glachdadh - tha e cordadh ruim gu bheil a h-uile duine dìreach a’ deanamh an rud aca fhein. Tha mi daonnan a’ faireachdainn gu bheil ruideigin intinneach sìos gach bòthar beag ach chan eil gu leor uine air an t-saoghal airson gach rud, fàileadh, neo solais beag a leantainn ann an 中国。

There are a huge number of things that are very different from what I’m used to. It’s rare to find a queue in a shop or restaurant – they don’t use them. You’ve just got to push your way in which is very strange for a bunch of Scottish teens! As I’m sure you know the Chinese ‘cutlery’ of chopsticks is very different from ours back home. I was quite comfortable using chopsticks before coming to 中国 and now with the extra daily practice I can eat a bowl of 米饭 (rice) fairly quickly. But, I’m apparently still a fair bit off the mark compared to the natives as the other day a man gave me a spoon because I was having such difficulty eating with chopstick – I had only dropped a bit of cucumber!

Tha iomadh rud ann a tha glè diofraichte on a bha mi cleachte ri. Chan eil e cumanta liodhne a’ lorg ann an bùth neo taigh-biadh – cha bhith iad gan cleachdadh. Feumaidh tu dìreachd stobadh tu fhein don a-steach. Chan e rud furasta a th’ann an seo airson deugairean a dh’Alba! Mar tha fios agaibh, cha bhith iad a’ cleachdadh an aon uidheam-ithe ruinne ann an Alba. Bha mi cofhurtail gu lèor le bhith a’ cleachdadh bioran-ithe ro tighinn gu中国 agus nis ‘s urrain dhomh ithe bobhla 米饭(rìs) gu luatha leotha. Chan eil mi fhathsta aig an ìre de muinntir na h-àite oir beagan làithean air ais thug cuideigean spàinn dhomh oir leig mi pìos cularan!

I’ve 吃 (eaten) very well in the short time I’ve been here. I’ve become accustomed to pointing at something and then guessing what it is while I’m eating it. My language isn’t quite at the level to be able to read what I’ve ordered half the time! Food here can be very cheap and I can feed myself for the whole day on around 40 RMB – which is about a fiver! One of our favourite local shops has been nicknamed the green parcel shop and sells hot, garlic-y, leek-y pastry parcels for around 25 pence! We love it there.

Tha mi air 吃 (ithe)  gu math anns an ùine goird a tha mi air a bhith an seo.  Tha mi air faighinn gu math cleachte ri bhith a’ pungachadh ri rudan agus a’ deanamh tuairmeas air na tha mi ithe. Chan eil me làdir gu lèor le mo chànan fhathsta airson a bhith a’ leughadh na tha mi ag ithe a mhòr cuid den uine!  Tha biadh glè saor an seo agus ‘s urrain dhomh ithe uile am biadh agam airson latha airson 40 RMB neo mu 5 nòt.  Tha bùth ann gu math faisg orinn a reiceas dhuinn rudan air a’ chuireas sinn ‘parsailean uaine’ airson 25sg!

Not everything we’ve eaten has been quite so successful though. Along with two other scholars, I ate a cold small spicy squid that still had its beak and all. It’ll be a long time until I eat one of those again… We’ve also tried to make some ‘home food’ with mixed results. This is a bowl of porridge with oreos on top that I had to eat with chopsticks as I didn’t have a spoon – could this be the first time that this has happened ever?

Chan eil gach rud a tha sinn ag ithe cèart cho soirbheachail, get ta.  Dh’ith mi fhìn agus diathais sgoiler eile strìlleachan beag spìosarach a bha fuar agus le an gob aca is a lethid fhathsta orra. Chan ithinns ath-riathaist iad... Tha sinn cuideachd air feuchdainn ri biadh bhon taigh a’ dheanamh le toraidhean diofraichte. Seo bobhla de brochan le oreos air a mhuin a bh’fheudar dhomh ithe le bioran-ithe oir cha robh spàinn agam – tha mi cinnteach gur e sinn a’ chiad turas riamh gun robh sinn air radh.

We’re very lucky that we’ve got lots of places to eat so close at hand. We’re fairly central in the city and that means that aside from great (cheap!) places to eat and shop we’re very close to a park and one of the many streams that breaks up the urban mass that is Tianjin. From our rooms we’ve got a great view. It’s quite different from the mountains I’m used to seeing in the distance from my bedroom. One of the major structures is the 天津 T.V tower that is a great help when we’re trying to navigate home after wandering about and exploring. We’ve also got a metro station just around the corner and it only costs 20 pence a trip. Instead of tickets you get a green chip that you put on a scanner to allow you in. If that doesn’t take your fancy, the city is littered with bikes. After paying a small monthly fee you’re free to hop on a bike wherever you are. It’s so handy!

Tha sinn gu math fortanach gu bheil an urrad de àiteanan airson ithe ann faisg orrin. Tha sinn meadhanach gu leor ‘s a’ bhaile agus tha sinn ciallachadh gu bheil sinn faisg air aon de na h-iomadh abhainnean beaga a’ bhriseas suas a’ bhaile, mòran àiteanan blasta (agus saor!) airson ithe agus tha sinn dìreach coiseach goirid bhon phàirc. Bhon na seòmraichean againn tha deagh sealladh againn, – tha e fìor diofraichte bhon beanntainnean san t-sealladh astar-mhòr a chìas mi bhon t-seomar agam ann an Alba. ‘S urrain dhuinn an tùr T.Bh aig 天津 - ‘s e cuideachadh mhòr a th’ann nuair a dh’fheumas sinn ar slighe dhachaigh a lorg! Tha stèisean meatro mu coig mionaidean bhon doras againn a chosgas mu 20sg gach turas. Mur nach eil sin intinneach gu lèor dhut, tha a bhaile loma-làn de baidhsagalan. As deidh tàille-mìosal beag tha thu saor gus leum air baidhc nuair a thàghas tu air feadh a’ bhaile. Tha e sgoinneil!

All in all, my first month in 中国 has been full of new people, food, language and experiences. It’s felt very alien and strange at times, but I also feel as if I’ve already made a second home for myself here and found myself a second family. I’m so excited to see what the next 9 months holds for me.


See you in the next one!

Uile gu lèir, tha a chiad mios agam ann an 中国 air a bhith loma- làn le biadh, doaine, cànan is fidirichean ùra. Tha e air faireachdainn gu math neònach aig àmannan ach aig an aon àm ‘s e an dàrna dachaigh agam a th’ann mar-tha agus tha dàrna theaghlach agam an seo cuideachd.  Tha mi cho air bhiorann airson fhaicinn na tha feitheabh orm anns an-ath naoi mìosan!

Tìoraidh an dràsta!


Chaque jour je me lève à sept heures et demi car mes classes commencent à huit heures et demi sauf le lundi. La plupart de temps, je peux retourner chez moi à douze heures. J’ai quatre sujets : le Parler, l’Écouter, l’Écrire Chinois et la Compréhension. Je dirais que l’écrire Chinois au bien la Compréhension sont me classes favorites. J’ai quatre 老师 (professeurs) et ils sont tous très sympas et compréhensifs. Il y a beaucoup d’élèves internationaux – nous sommes de quatre continents différents ! Chaque nuit mes professeurs me donnent des devoirs, mais ce n'est pas trop difficile. J’aime bien écrire des caractères chinois car ils sont très intéressants ! J’aime bien ma journée universitaire. Et vous, comment-il votre vie quotidienne à l’école ?