Beijing craziness

Hello everyone and welcome to my blog!

Today I am trying my best to write an article in English. I have been living in Shanghai for more than one month now and I want to document the very first steps, interesting experiences and challenges on my way. To be honest, writing in English feels more like doing homework for school back in 2010, but here we go… 🙂 I want to write in English, so that my friends from all over the world can follow my adventure. Please feel free to correct my mistakes!


In Shanghai everything is big! Look at this huge zebra crossing!

New city, new life

Over the past few years I have learned that having less expectations makes you experience more happiness, because when things turn out to be way better than you expected, you are overwhelmed by how good life is. That’s exactly the feeling I have right now! Although the excitement of the first few days is gone, because every day life routine and uni life have taken over, I am still happy and slightly overwhelmed by how good my life is at the moment.


The Happy Jori 🙂

Making new friends

I am currently living on the Siping Campus of the Tongji University and making new friends seems to be easy, because most of the students who just moved in are new here as well and very happy to meet other students. Living in the hostel for foreign students is a blessing, because only two people share one room and we have a private bathroom, but it is also a curse, because we are separated from the Chinese students, who live in other buildings. When I leave the building, I see groups of students sitting in front of the hostel, talking in German, English or French. I pretend not to speak any of those languages, which might seem weird, but I have my reasons.

When you start making friends with people from your country, or people from other contries, you might feel connected because you share the same language, the same difficulties, the same humor, etc. but I want to feel lonely in the beginning. I want to have the feeling that I have to start from level zero. I want to use Chinglish (Chinese and English mixed together) and my body language to communicate with Chinese students, without being afraid of making mistakes. As long as you are communicating, you can only get better! Yes, I am a weirdo! Honestly, feeling lonely pushes me towards being more open, approaching people, asking for help, trying out new things and being independent.

D 班 The best class in Tongji

My classmates from the language course at the International School are wonderful by the way! The come from all over the world: Korea, Japan, Vietnam, Sudan, Yemen, France, Poland, Italy, Portugal, Ecuador, Germany, Greece, Madagascar, Togo and I really appreciate how nice everyone is. Most of the students are already fluent in Chinese and try to avoid using English in their conversations. That is really cool! We were once talking about how French has been influencing German and English in the past, or we discussed the political situation in Sudan. That was a challenge, but we do understand each other with some Chinglish and body language. I have to admit that I found a very good friend here in Shanghai attending the same class and we are exploring the city together.


Catherine and me in the city center of Shanghai

The Golden Week

The third week of uni started with a vacation because of the National Holiday in China. Catherine and I decided to go to Beijing and spend some time in the capital, sightseeing, exploring and having fun. We were not the only ones having this idea. It felt like everyone in China was travelling during those days!


We soon got used to a lot of people everywhere and it felt stupid to complain, because we were part of the crowd!


We were not alone. Never. 🙂

Taking the train to Beijing

My Chinese teacher in Germany used to play a game with us about taking the train. We were singing: “开开开火车,我的火车就要开。” (I am taking the train, my train is about to take off.) and the class had to ask: “往哪儿开?” (Where are you going to?) The answer was one city from China, because every student had a paper in front with a name of a city. In my case I would answer: ”往北京开!” (I am going to Beijing.) This simple game was really fun and it is one of the best memories I have of my first semester at university. Everytime when someone did a mistake my teacher was clapping her hands, laughing and said: „You have to get of the train!“ In the end only two students were still playing and one of them won.

This might seem like a game for children, but isn’t everyone who is learning Chinese going back to primary one level? You have to start over, learn how to read and how to write and only by practicing every day you can reach a higher level.


Taking the train is an experience

The high speed train from Shanghai to Beijing takes about 6 hours and is cheaper than taking the airplane. Smoking was not allowed, but we were still amazed about the differences of taking a train in Germany and in China. People are eating a lot during the trip: warm noodle soup, other meals, nuts and even other kind of snacks like chicken feet. That was new to us! I was also amazed about how a lot of people were watching series on high volume without wearing their headphones. I could follow at least 4 different TV series at once. That was challenging!


Smoking is prohibited

School on Saturday and Sunday

We had one free week, but Saturday and Sunday were normal working days, where we had to attend class. That’s why I took my Chinese book with me and practiced some characters. Despite the noise  in the train, I tried to focus on my vocabularies and enjoyed the small baby mandarin.


北京欢迎你! Welcome to Beijing!

The trip to Beijing was definitively worth it! Thanks to Baidu (the Chinese Google Maps) and the Subway plan we didn’t get lost and we spent some wonderful days in Beijing. Even though Beijing is the capital you can find smaller buildings, old traditional houses and beautiful parcs and lakes.


Sightseeing was a challenge

We were never alone and sightseeing was not easy, because thousands (I really mean thousands) of other tourists wanted to visit the same places as we did. This picture is taken on the Tiananmen Square and afterwards we tried to get into the Forbidden City, but at 9 o‘ clock in the morning the 88.000 tickets for the whole day were already sold out.


The Great Wall 长城

The day at the Great Wall was the best experience of our whole trip! So many friends did scare us and told us it would be horrible and totally crowded, but luckily we booked a tour at our hostel to visit a not so famous part of the Wall, where only adventurous tourists want to go to. It was AWESOME! Kind of like, you know, I don’t know.. well.. EXACTLY! We even reached a part of the wall, which has not been rebuild yet and we would have loved to continue walking there. Unfortunately our guide was waiting for us, so in the end we missed this original part of the wall. Nevertheless the view was great and the weather was really nice, too! I have been visiting the Great Wall in July and the sun was burning at that time. In October the sun was still there, but we also enjoyed some wind.



We took a cable car to get up to the Wall and had a fantastic view




Not only the view, but also the stairs were breathtaking!



In 80 days around the world

On the Great Wall we met this wonderful young lady from the Netherlands who is part of the project „STORM Eindhoven“. A group of motivated students developed the world’s first electric touring motorcycels and travel around the world in 80 days. It was a pleasure to meet Michelle, who made all the way from the Netherlands to China. I loved listening to her sharings about her adventure. If you are interested in their project, please check out their website and Youtube Channel!

Ich glaub mich knutscht ein Drache

In German we have a saying: „Ich glaub mich knutscht ein Elch“ (I think an elk is kissing me) which means „I can’t believe it.“ In my case, I think a dragon is kissing me „Ich glaub mich knutscht ein Drache“ (this sounds weird in English) but I really can’t believe how good our trip to Beijing was. We walked a lot (up to 26 kilometers per day) we enjoyed some good food, visited beautiful places and even met some friends from Freiburg.


好吃的饭!Tasty food!

In Beijing we were trying out a lot of different vegetarian restaurants or other places to eat. One evening we were having dumplings at a small restaurant and the menu was only in Chinese. A group of foreigners walked by and sat down, a few tables away from us. I expected them to know Chinese, but when one of them opened the menu I could clearly see by his stunned look that he didn’t understand a single word. I burst out into laughter, because he looked so helpless and funny at that moment. We offered our help to them and in the end Catherine was ordering food for 6 people, translating all the ingredients and different types of food. The group was really nice and they were very thankful for our help.



One morning we couldn’t resist the French bakery and got some real croissants. Catherine is French, but I have the tendency to forget about this fact, because her German is so good.


Hmmmm….. C’est delicieux!

Not this not that 

The other day we were ordering Chinese pancakes with a lot of fresh vegetables and a mysterious brown (very tasty!) sauce: “我们想要两个薄饼,没有辣,没有香菜也没有肉。” (We would like to have two pancakes, not spicy, no Chinese parsley and no meat please.) When the lady repeated our order she was turning back to her colleague hissing in Chinese: “也不要!” (Not this, not that…) making fun of how picky we are. 🙂



This was so tasty!

The Summer Palace 頤和園

We spent one whole day in the Summer Palace and enjoyed the nature. The big lake was beautiful, and all the trees made us feel at home. I really miss the nature of Switzerland and Germany from time to time. (To tell you the truth: I miss it every single day.)



No black feet in the grass?!





Photo Shooting

A lot of Chinese tourists wanted to take pictures with us that day. Most of them didn’t ask for our permission and this felt weird. While we were eating, or just sitting down to relax people were coming and taking selfies with us. Our strategy was to hide behind books.


Look how beautiful the auntie is!

There were a lot of parents pointing at us saying to their children something like: „Go to see the auntie there, look at her skin, so white! Look how beautiful the auntie is. Go to her, we take a picture together!“ Most of the children were very shy and I guess they wondered why we were considered beautiful, because in their eyes we must look weird.


Beauty standards

Children don’t know about beauty standards and sometimes small children even get scared when they see me. Maybe my long nose looks pretty scary to them? We frequently hear comments about our long noses (which is a compliment!) and about our white skin. It doesn’t matter how you look like, as long as you look like a foreigner you are considered beautiful and that makes me really sad. There are so many beautiful Asian women in this world and anyway… Isn’t beauty just a superficial measurement? Real beauty comes from the heart, not from the outside.

20161005_155132.jpgWe are a very good team! Team 包子 🙂

In Shanghai we like to visit the BaoBao shop frequently, because they make very tasty 包子 Baozi and you can sit outside with candle light. In Beijing we found this shop with a very nice lady selling the Baozi to us.


She gave us one Baozi for free, because she wanted us to try out something new and asked us to come back the following day. We will definitively come back one day!


I enjoyed the days travelling with Catherine and discovering a new city in China. Although we were a little bit scared in the beginning, we spent a wonderful time in Beijing!

                                              I am ready for new adventures!


Greetings to all of you!

Jorinde 🙂

我与汉语的不解之缘 – Why I will never stop learning Chinese

经常有人问我:“你为什么学习汉语?可以告诉我是什么原因让你学习汉语的?” 说实在的, 这个问题很难以回答。我很喜欢学习新东西,尤其是学语言。上中学的时候,我就已经学会了丹麦语,有一天,班上的一个中国同学就开玩笑地对我说:“哈哈,你连丹麦语都学了,为什么不学中文呢?那才是真厉害!” 那时的我听了,没有立刻接受挑战,心里没有自信,因为我听说过学习汉语不容易,但是心里也树立了一个目标。后来,在上大学选择专业时,我决定做一件别人看起来很“疯狂”的事情,主修汉学。这,只是我百里挑一的回答,因为我可以告诉你一百个学习汉语的原因,说也说不完。

Tell me why!

Many people have been asking me: “Why do you learn Chinese? Please tell me, what was the reason that made you study Chinese?” To be honest, the answer to this question is not easy. I love to learn new things, especially foreign languages. When I was in high school, I had taught myself Danish. One day some of my Chinese classmates were joking and telling me: “If you already managed to learn Danish, why don’t you want to give Chinese a try?” At that time, I was not really convinced this would be a good idea. I did not have the confidence that it would actually be possible for me to learn this language. I heard about how difficult the Chinese language is, but deep inside me, I started to develop a dream. Later, when I was applying for my studies at university, I chose to study something crazy and applied for Sinology. This is one of hundred possible explanations, why I decided to learn Chinese.

我从 2014 年 10 月开始学习汉语,非常幸运的,我的汉语老师非常棒,同学们也都很认真。因为我热爱学习,所以学习很努力。在学习汉语的过程中我遇到最困难的是说汉语。我写了很多词语卡片和阅读了很多文章,但是我的中文说得还不是很流利,没办法清楚地表达我的想法。我的目标是在不远的将来,可以流利的使用汉语。说实在的,有时候我感觉不到自己的进步。最困难的时候,我就自己给自己加油:“坚持下去!坚持就是胜利。”

Don’t give up easily!

In October 2014 I started learning Chinese and I was so lucky to have an excellent Chinese teacher and very good and motivated classmates. I love to study, so I was putting in a lot effort to learn this new language. During my Chinese learning process, the most difficult part was speaking Chinese. I did write tons of vocabulary cards, read many texts written in Chinese, but still I am not able to speak Chinese fluently. I can’t express myself the way I want to and sometimes that makes me feel like there is no progress. In very tough times, I told myself: “Don’t give up easily! Good things take time! Everything is going to be fine in the end. If it’s not fine, it’s not the end.”

从第一个学期到现在,有很多同学没坚持下来,转系了。太可惜了!我不想跟他们一样。幸好我发现了学习和容易的关系,《为学》这篇文章说过,“学之,则难者亦易矣,不学,则易者亦难矣。”就是这个道理,努力学习,困难的东西就会变得简单,反之,不努力学习,就是简单的东西也会变得困难。我心里想:“我只看到自己遇到的困难,却没看到自己的进步。 如果我继续努力学习,会进步更多!”

Many classmates who started learning Chinese with me in the first semester eventually gave up. They didn’t stick with it and changed subjects. What a pity! I knew that I didn’t wanted to be like them. Luckily, I found out about how to make study easier. If you study hard, complicated things will become easier. But if you are not putting enough efforts in your study, the most simple things will become complicated. If you only focus on the difficulties you encounter, you will not be able to see your progress. But if you are studying hard, sooner or later, the hard work will pay off and there will definitely be progress!


我突然好像明白了:“我可以的!” 我是一个乐观积极的女孩。我热爱生活,喜欢微笑,乐于助人。我喜欢写作,我的文风,风趣幽默,经常分享自己对生活,对汉语学习的亲身体验和感悟。我喜欢语言和文化,热爱学习,勤奋而有纪律性。总是利用各种机会学习。我开朗活泼,热爱音乐艺术,特别爱唱中文歌曲,会弹吉他,自弹自唱。

Believe in yourself

Suddenly I started to realize: „I can do it!“ I am an optimistic girl, always looking at the bright side of life. I love to learn, I love to laugh and I love to help people the best I can. I love to write articles, developed my own style of writing, telling people about how to learn Chinese, my experiences and motivation. I am deeply fascinated by languages, love to explore new cultures. When it comes to learning I am very disciplined and always try to take every opportunity to learn. I am cheerful, love the art of music. I love to sing, especially Chinese songs and play the guitar while singing.



今年的7月是我第一次来到中国参加汉语桥比赛。我梦想在中国做的是认识新的朋友,因为我很喜欢认识世界各地的人。在中国我当然每天都想说很多的汉语,因为我真的很想提高我的汉语水平。对此我紧张又兴奋! 我知道: “别担心!什么都可以!我一定会加油!”

Chinese Bridge Competition

In July this year, I will go to China for the very first time in my life to participate in the Chinese Bridge Competition. I dream of making many new friends in China, because I love to meet people from all over the world. I will give my best and try to speak Chinese every single day, because I really want to improve my Chinese skills. I am both nervous and excited! I tell myself: “Don’t worry! Everything is possible! I will give my best!”

我高兴死了!I am SO happy!


Never give up!

大家好!My English is not very good, but I am writing this article for you! Today was a big day and I want to share my happiness!

I am on my way back home in the train from Heidelberg to Freiburg. I have a smile on my face. Actually I can’t stop smiling and I would like to scream and cry at the same time, dance and give the world a big hug, because I am so grateful!

Today I took part in the 15th Chinese Bridge Competition in Heidelberg. I was well prepared, knew my speech by heart, and it turned out to be wonderful! I would like to go back in time. Today is the 21th of May 2016, exactly two years ago I finished school and had a big dream to study medicine and become a wonderful doctor. This dream didn’t work out, lucky me! Because of this I decided to study something interesting, something crazy although I didn’t know what would expect me. Learning Chinese was a spontaneous decision, I didn’t plan it and I didn’t expect anything.

Let me try my best

Sometimes I feel like everything works out perfectly when I have no expectations. A friend of mine asked me: “I know someone who started learning Chinese and failed. Do you want to talk to him?” and my reply was: “No thank you. If I fail, I will fail anyway. There is no point in waisting energy on that. If it happens, let it happen. I want to try my best, maybe it is enough. We will see!” Studying Sinology and learning Chinese turned out to be one of the best decisions in my life so far. I learned to try the impossible, in order to make it possible. I even fell in love with a Chinese man. Crazy things happen in life!

Looking back

One year ago, 21th of May 2015 was not easy. I was struggling, both with my personal life and with my studies. I couldn’t feel the progress. I was learning Chinese every single day and I was spending hours and hours and hours writing down the characters and despite all these efforts, I could only say simple sentences like: “I like cheese. Cheese is yummie.” I couldn’t say: “I like to eat cheese, because I think it is really  tasty.” I couldn’t say more than very simple sentences. That was driving me crazy!

I was asking myself: „Why am I doing this?“ „Warum?“ 为什么?


All my vocabulary cards at that time



Reaching my own limits

When would I finally reach the point where I would be able to express myself with my own words? I was only putting words and phrases together, that I learned from my textbook. I couldn’t play with the language, I couldn’t be creative, I felt my own limits every single week. New text, new chapter, new words, new grammar, new frustration. My Chinese teacher is wonderful and very supportive, but I did not feel as if I could ever make it.

From time to time I thought of the following sentence from the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein: “The limits of my language are the limits of my world.”


When I was learning Danish, that was my motivation and I felt like there were no limits. But while learning Chinese I sometimes was not so sure about that anymore.

Life can change- So can you!

Last year changed my life, I guess you always have to go through dark times in order to discover life again, to see and feel the sunshine and to find your happiness and new motivation.

力 means „power“


Giving up is not an option 

It all started with the book “The longest way” of Christoph Reehage, the guy who tried to walk from Bejing to Germany and made it til Ürümqü and wrote this very interesting book about his journey. I was fascinated by his story and felt motivated, there was no way of giving up on learning Chinese. Little by l developed a dream:

My dream of being able to write, speak and understand Chinese. I started to believe in myself again. One evening in Freiburg I had a wonderful experience, an eye opener, something that touched my heart deeply and made me laugh. A small Chinese boy noticed just by observing me, that I was listening and understanding the conversation of his family. It is a beautiful story and this was part of my speech. Here is the link to my speech: Chinese Bridge Competition 2016 Jorinde Wiese


I did write an article about the story I am telling in Chinese on this blog called “Langnasentheater” and I sent it to my family. This time around I was also writing my first article about my “Chinese Alzheimer Disease” and other interesting things happening while learning Chinese. I was ending my article very passionate:

“Everything is going to be fine in the end.
If it’s not fine it’s not the end.”

– Oscar Wilde –



My dream came true

Today was a big day, one year later, the 21th of May 2016. My heart was beating fast, my legs were shaking, although no one noticed, because my voice stayed calm. I was standing on the stage, smiling, pretending as if I would speak fluently Chinese. At the moment I can only say simple sentences, but please give me some time and be patient. I am working on it! And I was so happy that I couldn’t hide it. I simply had to dance! 我高兴死了!

It was a wonderful experience to be part of this competition!  谢谢大家!

I am so excited and I just can’t hide it 🙂 


Singing with my heart

During the competition I did also sing the song 传奇 and I love both the melody and the lyrics. It is so hard to sing when you are very nervous and excited, but I tried my best. Here is the link to the song: Chinese Bridge Competition 2016 Jorinde Wiese

I can really feel the lyrics and they mean a lot to me! I started singing with my friend Wenxin and one day we will sing together!

The past few days have been exciting, stressful and motivating! I can’t wait for all the new things that will happen in the future.

I am ready!