Faith Mailu: live as a Chengduer

Authors: Go Chengdu

2019-08-13

I love the people in Chengdu, they are extremely thoughtful, patient and kind. We welcomed our son this September and he was born in Chengdu. Chengdu holds a special place in our hearts.
As a newbie to Chengdu, I had mixed emotions about moving to a city where the only person I knew was my husband. The other hesitance was the language barrier. I arrived in Chengdu on 26th Oct. 2014 to join my husband who was in Chengdu a year ahead of me. Our first apartment was in Tongzilin right above the Lazy Pug, a great location for a first timer not familiar with the area. I got to meet many foreigners from all over the world that spoke English. This was great but I still had a longing to interact with the locals to appreciate the Chengdu culture.
Chengdu has many local English speakers and I have been fortunate to meet some. It has made my life in Chengdu a lot easier. I have also mastered the art of hand signals, facial gestures and that along with my survival Chinese I am able to get my way around. I love the people in Chengdu, they are extremely thoughtful, patient and kind. We welcomed our son this September and he was born in Chengdu. Chengdu holds a special place in our hearts.
Within a few months upon arrival, I began my Chinese lessons and started meeting a few local people. I noticed that the first question my acquaintances who quickly became friends would ask is “Have you eaten (你吃了吗)?” It did not matter what time of day it was. I asked my Chinese teacher why this question and she said it was a greeting amongst the locals.
I learned that friendship was enjoyed alongside tea or a meal. Meals were no longer done hurriedly or Dutch like I was used to. The meals included a large order with a variety of dishes shared amongst those seated at the table. I came from a culture where the only meal shared could be appetizer or dessert. The rest of the time you order your own plate of choice. I have quickly adapted to the Chinese culture and enjoy trying different dishes. I love the relaxed atmosphere while eating.
I got introduced to GoChengdu group last spring and it has been an amazing experience. I have met many local and foreign friends through the activities they conduct. The latest activity “GoChengdu Gusto” was extremely fun. It really enriched my cultural awareness on local Sichuan Cuisine. We got to try different dishes at local restaurants, with my favorite being the hot pot. The GoChengdu staff did a great job in organizing the event and explaining to the foreigners what the different dishes were. It is very easy to get overwhelmed by the selection in the authentic restaurants. The menus are big and have very few pictures if any for those whose Chinese is limited. The Gusto group gave the participants courage to explore local cuisine with an open mind. The staff’s selections at the restaurants were very professional and went out of their way to make everyone’s dining experience a pleasant one. Thank you GoChengdu for expanding my palate for Sichuan Cuisine. I will pay forward by taking my family and friends that visit Chengdu to some of the restaurants.
About the author:
Faith Mailu has been in Chengdu for just about one year. She and her pilot husband Jason Charette both came from America. Three month ago they had their first child in Chengdu, which makes this city special in her mind. For Faith, the GoChengdu Gusto activity looks like another door opened in her life in Chengdu.

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