归国两周感受

回来半个月了,目前总体上还比较适应国内的大环境,因为之前没敢期待太高,所以没有什么心里落差。但是生活中还是有一些小小的感触,先记录在此。

首先是物价,已经远不是我三年前出国时候的水平了。到南通第一天去逛超市什么都不敢买,洗发水跟芬兰一个价,浴巾比宜家的贵质量还不好,欧莱雅的洗面奶芬兰超市卖8欧这边卖100块,进了趟超市买一袋东西两三百就出去了……终于理解到了什么叫物价赶英超美,现在英美都不在话下了,开始赶超北欧了。回来两周小心翼翼的花钱,算下来还是花了四千多,但是花在哪儿我一点印象都没有。

其次是网购,太方便了。京东一般情况下第二天就可以送货上门,还支持货到付款。不过网购的缺点却很明显,就是不知道物品质量到底如何。我在京东上买了一个床上三件套,收到后发现这个三件套是一个床单加两个枕套,太让人无语了,一不小心就上当了。

人们生活节奏都很快,在高速公路上都是不停变道,不停的鸣笛,堵车了更是挤来挤去,越堵越挤,越挤越堵。市区也是,大家经常闯红灯,各种不遵守交通规则。我最受不了的就是大家一直在不停的鸣笛,不管是什么车,卡车也好,三轮车也罢,司机手都随时按照喇叭上。在小区里面也吵个不停,晚上都一样。总体来说节奏快的结果是周围都很吵,旁边的工地一天24小时都有机器轰鸣,中秋十一八天假也是这样。我刚回来的时候早上经常五点多就被吵醒,不过适应了一段时间之后感觉也习惯了。

年轻人会说英语的还挺多的,长途汽车站的售票员基本业务上的英语都会,跟老外打交道没什么问题。另外服务行业的从业人员整体态度都还比较好,去银行柜台后面的人都知道微笑,说话也慢条斯理;公交司机也比较有礼貌;但是被服务的人素质参差不齐,插队的情况也时有发生。总体来说年轻人比中老年人素质高,受的教育愈好素质愈高。

总体来说这两周的感受偏正面,以后想到什么再加。

People don’t remember acronyms

I created a website for the project I’m working on and also filled in relevant information for it. The project has a acronym of “CIER“, which I put on the website as “Communication Infrastructure for Emerging Regions”. After I delivered it to my colleagues, my manager, and the project partners, everyone seemed to be OK with that. However when I looked back and went unsure about it; I remembered coming up with the full name when I just wanted to put something/anything there, without looking up the project documents… And when I checked them again later on, I was wrong. The full project name is “Converged Infrastructure for Emerging Regions” instead. I corrected it, and still feeling funny about it. My manager had found one of my typos mistaking “funding agency” for “founding agency”, however he didn’t notice the acronym error I’d made, and neither did anyone else. Most people don’t remember acronyms correctly when they’re not used very often, AFAIK.

No more Chinese

So this is it — I’ve decided not to write in Chinese anymore here on my website. Reasons being:

1. I need to practise English. The other day after an interview I was going to Jorvas with the interviewer.

He said, “Your English is good, better than most Chinese I’ve interviewed”.

I smiled, “I heard of the saying that when one is complimented that his English is good, it means he’s still not so good compared with native speakers”.

“That’s true.”

Then I explained, “My English isn’t as good as you’ve just seen; but I’m not afraid of speaking out and making mistakes; I don’t really like to hang out with Chinese either. I’m now in a foreign environment and I need to take advantage of this. Spending all days with a bunch of Chinese makes me feel like I’m still in China. And by the way, I’m not much a fan of China.”

Again I complimented him, “”Are you a Swedish-speaking-Finn? ‘Cause most Finns I’ve met don’t seem interested in Swedish — you talked to me in Swedish during the interview.”

“No, my mother tongue is Finnish. Most Finns study Swedish in school and they seldom find it useful. For me I go to Stockholm quite often and I’ve worked there for quite a period, so I got practising Swedish everyday with the Swedes.”

So that’s my point. Practice makes perfect.

2. I want to help the one I love with her English. I believe she is the only one seriously following my blog. She has read every single entry I posted here. By switching the language it may remind her keeping practising English.

3. I don’t have Chinese input in most of my OS’s. English is ubiquitous.

That was the preface. (*Long* preface as always, huh?)

Back to the interviewer I  mentioned above. I met him again the other day in the restaurant. He looked at my ID badge and said, “Now you just started here and I’m leaving the company.”

“Where are you going?”

“I’m going to a start-up.”

I was surprised, “What kind of company are you starting up?”

“No, I’m not starting up my own company. I’m working with others.”

He told me their idea, sounds pretty promising. I was still surprised. Leaving a Chief Scientist position sounds like crazy for me. But I admire his courage. People do think differently.

This evening I was just opening my door and going cooking, when the girl across the hall opened her door at the same time. I said hi and she nodded back.

“By the way,” she went in and came out again, holding “The Epoch Times”, “is this your magazine? ‘Cause it’s Chinese.”

“No… But it’s kinda ‘illegal’ newspaper from the perspective of Chinese government.”

I took the newspaper and found here room number and my name written on it.

“Shit, where the hell did they get my name, and why they put her address.” I said to myself.

It was my first time talking talking with her and it turns out she’s planning to visit Beijing during the Christmas this year. She booked the ticked today and she wanted to go there because she “hates Christmas and the church”. She’s from Germany and has been here for several years. She first came to Finland as an high school exchange student and then got enrolled in the university.

“But I’m not really studying here. I’m working in a day-care and I’m transfering to the University of Amsterdam by the end of June. I have to study Dutch now.”

“But isn’t Dutch quite close to German?”

“Yes but I have to be as fluent as the native. I was studying Chinese but now I have to give my time to Dutch.”

I was surprised, again. Here when you talk to people you will aways be surprised, they always have something you’ve never thought of. She said two sentences in Chinese, not bad at all.

“I hope I can speak some Chinese when I arrive at Beijing.”

That may be one of the reasons why Chinese are so lagged behind. We talk too much but don’t know how to turn the big plans into actions. I’m ashamed of that.

Now I have two more reasons for not using Chinese anymore:

4. It’s much easier to record my daily life using English. I don’t have to translate everything into Chinese, which is really a pain in the ass.

5. English looks better with my current website template.

That’s it.

我怎么学英语

话说我在bbs上发帖征友之后,大家似乎对我不太感兴趣,倒是对我怎么学英语感兴趣。本来没什么可说的,因为每个人都有不同的学习习惯,适合我的不一定适合你,找到适合自己的学习方法就行了。但是吹捧的人多了,我也未免飘飘然,就斗胆说一下我是怎么学的。为了避免班门弄斧之嫌疑,请觉得自己可以学好的同学绕行。

切入正题。我在土生土长的鬼佬面前总是说不顺溜,但是换成在国外呆了N年的中国人,说起英语来我是丝毫不怕,有时甚至能用阿甘纯正的Alabama的口音飙出一词半句。考试的时候如果我心里没底,我就会这样想:“假如我考不好,岂不是有很多要挂掉。”也许这样想有些自负,但我觉得只要不太过分,不夜郎自大就没什么问题。——自信很重要,甚至些许自负也未尝不可。

当然,强烈的自我暗示不是一切。我具体说说自己是怎么学的。

背单词是我的最爱,而我背单词的方法也比较笨——反复背,其实这就是杨鹏17天搞定GRE单词的精髓。有人还问我是背句子文章还是就背单词,说实话,有时间当然最好是把单词放到语境里去背,但我比较急功近利,没那么多时间,所以一般情况下我都是抱着词汇书狂啃,有记忆方法的话就看一眼,至于例句用法,我一概不予理睬。这种背法的缺点就是太枯燥,但是我们还可以借助一些多媒体来记忆,比如词汇书配套的音频,或者背单词软件,个人推荐新东方背单词,我一般让它隔一秒过一个单词,自己舒舒服服的靠在椅背上,似乎也挺惬意的~(or you can call me a freak)

词汇量大了之后你就会发现听说读写不像以前那么难了,如果一个句子里的单词你都认识,那么理解起来问题不会太大的。能看懂听懂,自然就会写会说了。但是听说读写也是各有各的特点,我不太擅长说和写(原因?性格吧),就简单说说怎么听,怎么读。

听不是简单的听句子里面出现了哪些单词,还要听语音语调语气,听语音语调是为了让自己适应对方说话的方式,听语气则是弄懂对方说话的用意,是惊讶还是疑惑,这也不难。大家抱怨最多的也许是语速问题了。其实有些同学的问题不是对方说话太快,而是对方大量使用了连读弱读和失音失爆,如fit^it^in, Call^it^a day, bla(ck)bord, etc。这些规律都比较简单,很多书上都有,感兴趣的同学可以去查一下。如果真是语速的问题,那就只有多听语速快的材料了,我一般将BBC, VOA放在MP3中用最快速度播放,感兴趣的可以试试。

读也不难,不要因为某个单词不认识或语法问题停下来琢磨半天。我一般都是一口气读完,读第一遍的时候绝不回读,读完之后如果有题目再到原文中定位,找到正确答案。我觉得阅读的时候了解大致意思即可,细节方面完全不需记忆。语法有问题的同学不要担心,像我这样连定语状语都不知道是什么的菜鸟都行,你们也一定行~

再说说我对培训班的看法,我觉得通过上培训班来快速提高是不太可能的。我没有上过什么培训班,但是听过新东方的课堂录音之后,我发现原来新东方的所有老师都曾经捂着自己的脸用墨水瓶冲击美国大使馆——除了能听几个老掉牙的笑话之外唯一好处似乎是能认识一些志同道合的朋友,感受一下大家一起学习的热闹气氛。

先写这么多,以后想到什么了再加。

 

English speech for oral English class

Last time Irvin talked something about dreams. He said that we shall work for our dreams. And today I’m also gonna talk something about dreams, that’s Dreams & Reality.

Since Irvin asked me what my dream was three days ago, I have been thinking about it all the time. It actually reminds me of the time when another friend of mine asked me the very same question about two years ago. My dream was quite simple then:

I wanna find a place far away from any city and live there with my family. It could be in the mountain, or on an isolated island. We build our own cabins there; we grow our own vegetables and fruits and we keep cows for milk and chickens for eggs; we may also make our own clothes, too. During the daytime I will plow the fields, water the plants or go fishing on a small boat. In the evening the whole family will sit around a table to have dinner in the candle light. We share and we talk and we laugh. I may have some cherubic kids, too. After finishing the housework, I’d tell them stories and teach them to read and write, while my wife may teach them to sing and dance. At night perhaps the kids will look for the shiniest star in the twinkling of a starry sky, just as their papa did when he was a little boy. We climb mountains to watch the sunrise and sit shoulder to shoulder with each other on a big
rock just waiting for the sunset. We live in a kingdom where we are kings and queens of ourselves, with the territory full of fragrance of flowers and songs of birds. Our world is always in peace and harmony. We enjoy the sunshine, the fresh air, the breeze, and the drizzle. It’s just like living in a fairy tale.

Now, when I think back, I’m even a little surprised with myself! Wow, years ago I was so romantic! But then what happened next? Everyone was telling me that the reality would not let me to realize my dream. They asked me to live in the real word. Some people even laughed at me:”How unrealistic and romantic you are!” Then gradually I realized the so called reality. I thought:”Yeah, they might be right. I am unrealistic!” And I began to feel ashamed of being “romantic”! My dream seemed to have vanished! How pathetic! I lost my dreams and at the same time, I lost myself.

Fortunately Irvin’s words enlightened me:”dream is what you desire.” Yeah, dream is what we dream for! Why bother compare it with reality? Why shall dream surrender in front of reality? Dream means what we want and which has not been turned into reality!

So when we talk about dreams, just get rid of reality. We dream, therefore we are! We just need have a little faith. We shall believe in ourselves and let our dreams guide us. We are born to change the world, not to let the world swallow our dreams! Thousands of years ago people dreamed of flying and going up onto the moon. Today the dreams have come true! That’s the magic power of dreams!

So guys, don’t get frustrated by the other’s words or the reality. Just like Henry David Thoreau says:” Sell your clothes and keep your thoughts.” Be romantic! Retrieve your dream, keep it and cherish it! Just dream your own dream; just follow your heart!

 

Love Is All Around

I guess most of you present here have heard of such a true story: when the primary school teacher named Luonanying suffered from the leukemia, she wrote an article, expressing her deep love and expectancy on her tender-age son. After the article was seen in the newspaper, citizens of Ningbo were all deeply moved by her. In just one week, more than 2,000 citizens of Ningbo donated 600,000 yuan to her. People all over China were deeply touched by the citizens of Ningbo. Just exactly as what Luonanying later said in an interview, it’s her love on her son that moved people, and it’s people’s unselfish love that moved her and everyone else in the world. Love is all around.

Indeed, love is a kind of disinterested emotion; it is the most sacred emotion of world; it comes from one’s deepest part of the soul. Where there is life, there is love. In retrospect, there were so many touching stories proving that love is all around.

I believe that everyone has heard of Tianshiguo and Xubenyu.Tianshiguo donated one of his kidneys to his mother. You may say that it’s what a filial son should do for his mother, and that it’s just a part of human nature. Then think of Xubenyu, who voluntarily go to support education in the poor village. What did he want to get? Money? Fame? Or other things of this sort? Well, I don’t think it that way. He did so because of love! He wanted to disseminate love!

When the tsunami broke out, people all over the world dedicated the benevolence, helping the victims rebuild their homes. When “SARS” broke out, we helped each other, winning the battle against “SARS”. Because of love, “SARS” got another meaning: Smile And Remain Smile! Love is everywhere.

There are these beautiful sentences in the song “Love is all around”:

I feel it in my fingers
I feel it in my toes
The love that’s all around me
And so the feeling grows
It’s written on the wind
It’s everywhere I go

Yes, just as the song goes, love is everywhere we live. We can’t live without love!

But of course, love doesn’t exist only in our human society; it also exists in the nature. I suppose you have heard of such a touching story: when a butcher came near to a cow with his sharp knife, it suddenly knelt down, with tears rolling down from the cheek. The butcher hesitated for a short while, but at last he still raised his knife and killed the cow. Then he understood everything: there was a head of calf in the cow’s belly! So love, the most sacred emotion of world, also exists in the nature.

Even so, we often hear people say: “If there is no love in the world, we will…” I think its just nonsense, because the world could impossibly lack love. There is love in the sunshine, in the breeze and in the drizzle; there is love in lovers’ eyes; there is love in everyone’s heart. Love is just like air; sometimes you may not feel it, but it indeed exists everywhere around us.

Love is all around!

That’s all for my speech. Thank you, ladies and gentlemen.

2005.11.23

The English speech