My twin from Guangzhou

By Lotte , NL

 China UNlimited___

Sydney, 23rd of May 2014.

Do you sometimes wonder what would have happened if you had been born in another time or other place? If you had been born only a few hundred kilometers south or east or north – west is not relevant in my case, since it is not very likely I would have been born in the ocean – would you be a different person? Would you be better off? Happier? Or would you find your way through life, experiencing ups and downs, just like you are now? These are questions that I found some sort of answer to when I was shown a picture of my Chinese ‘twin’, by two complete strangers on the deck of a cruise boat on the Parramatta River, near Sydney.

Backpacking has led me to do many things I have not ever done before. Being on a plane for over 24 hours, sleeping in a room with 5 snoring Austrian women and spending my birthday crying at McDonalds are just a few examples. The story of my Chinese ‘twin’ also starts with having a new experience – going on an organized daytour on my own. The trip was to a national park just an hour outside of Sydney. I was picked up early in the morning by a van which was filled with a large Australian family that was busily talking to each other, and a Chinese couple who did not speak much English. There was one sad single seat for me in the back.

The tour was good. We drove to different viewpoints, stopped at a pretty little mountain town and were given the opportunity to hike. As the day went on, we took a break to enjoy some coffee and cookies. That’s when I noticed the Chinese couple looking at me. Already feeling awkward about being there on my own I ignored them, but soon the woman came up to me. ‘’Hello’’, she said. I was wrong about her English – she actually spoke it very well. ‘’What is your name?’’ she asked. ‘’Lotte’’, I answered. She told me her name, and the name of the man, who turned out not to be her boyfriend but her business associate. They both had difficult names I could not properly pronounce, but in my defense, they could not pronounce my name either. We had a laugh about that. ‘’From Holland?’’ she exclaimed enthusiastically when I told her where I was from. ‘’I was there for work only last year! Beautiful country. Amsterdam!’’ she said and put her thumbs up. I was impressed; some people I had met on my trip had no idea where my country was, let alone had they been there. I asked where they were from. She named a city I had not heard of, even though she said it had 8 million inhabitants. As I found out later, this city had to be Guangzhou, since she mentioned it was a few hours from Hong Kong. Unfortunately, we could not continue our conversation as our tour guide beckoned it was time to move on.

The tour ended with a boat trip back into the city. The sun was already setting, and the orange shades of the sky reflecting in the water made me want to buy one of those houses by the side of the river. When looking for a spot to sit on the deck, the Chinese woman beckoned me to come and sit with her and her business associate. This time the man started talking to me. His English was not as good as that of his colleague, but I understood he wanted to take a picture of the three of us. ‘’Why?’’ I asked hesitantly. The two looked at each other. ‘’You look exactly like a colleague in our company’’ the woman answered, ‘’like twins! We would like to show her a picture of you.’’ A surprising answer. Looking like a typical Dutch girl, I have a face covered in freckles, with blue eyes and blonde frizzy hair. I could not imagine I look anything like a Chinese girl, who I all imagine to have fair skin and beautiful dark smooth hair. Seeing the confused look on my face, the Chinese man got his phone out of his pocket and showed me the profile of my Chinese ‘twin’ on what I assumed was the Chinese equivalent of Facebook. The girl on the picture was posing with an expensive looking car, her face remaining a little vague. ‘’Wait’’, the man said and he showed me another picture. This time, my Chinese ‘twin’ was in a restaurant, smiling at the camera happily. To be honest, to call her my ‘twin’ is a bit of an overstatement but there was a certain similarity. She had dyed her hair, so it did look a bit like mine, and her facial features did slightly resemble my own. Mostly strikingly however, was her smile. That was exactly like mine. Would this have been me if I were born in China?

After taking a picture and saying goodbye to the two, I was left with questions about my Chinese look-a-like that were going to be unanswered. The woman had told me she was 24, a year older than I was at the time, and that she was a very funny girl. I like to think that I am a funny girl, so we (arguably) have that in common. But other than that, is she actually like me? Does she enjoy the same music, books and movies? Do they even have the same music, books and movies in China? What is it like to grow up in a city that has the population of half my country? And would we get along? Of course, I realize we might have not much more in common than our hair color, smile and the fact that we would make a good comical duo. But we are similar in at least those things. I think it should be enough to be friends.

Advertising

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

EU-U.S. Privacy Shield: Second review shows improvements but a permanent Ombudsperson should be nominated by 28 February 2019

Draghi: Germany has to spend if Eurozone is to exit recession

Eurozone: How safe are our deposits? Which banks will survive?

Eurozone: The crisis hit countries are again subsidizing the German and French banks

Northern Bahamas ravaged by ‘disaster of epic proportions’ as UN releases $1 million in emergency funds

St. Vincent and the Grenadines breaks a record, as smallest ever Security Council seat holder

EU members commit to build an integrated gas market and finally cut dependency on Russia

EU-Turkey relations: Erdogan plays the refugee card while beefing up gas operations in the Eastern Mediterranean sea

3 megatrends for the factories of the future

Europeans show record support for the euro

Beyond ‘business as usual’. Addressing the climate change crisis

Towards a zero tobacco public space in Cameroon

Main results of Environment Council of 09 October 2018

COP25: Developing nation’s strike hard

Transport Committee pledges to stop empty flights due to COVID-19

‘Make healthy choices’ urges UN agency, to prevent and manage chronic diabetes

Europe can be at the heart of tech with purpose

A new way to teach active citizenship to students?

‘Great cause of concern’ UN chief tells Security Council, surveying ‘bleak’ state of civilian protection

The EU might as well go down the drain if foreign meddling corrupts May’s elections

EU budget for 2019: do more for the young, SMEs and the climate, urge MEPs

B-I-R-D: 4 digital technologies that can help supply chains take flight

EU strengthens cooperation with Ethiopia

Main results of EU-Japan summit: Tokyo, 17/07/2018

Nearly 3 billion people around the globe under COVID-19 lockdowns – Today’s coronavirus updates

Sign language protects ‘linguistic identity and cultural diversity’ of all users, says UN chief

Password managers aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. Here’s why

EU Summit: Why was Poland isolated in opposing Tusk and the ‘multi speed’ Europe

UN’s Bachelet addresses progress and setbacks in human rights worldwide

To feed 10 billion people, we must preserve biodiversity. Here’s how

How to give start-ups a head-start

3 ways activists are being targeted by cyberattacks

#Travelgoals: why Instagram is key to understanding millennial tourism

How do we go about improving mental health in the community and reducing suicide rates in the 15-29 age group?

How to turn Africa’s manufacturing sector into a high-tech powerhouse

Pharmaceuticals in the environment: Commission defines actions to address risks and challenges

WHO study reveals ‘game-changer’ drug with potential to save thousands of women’s lives in childbirth

This man is installing 100 trash barriers in Bali’s rivers to stop plastic pollution

Flying high: how India could lead the world in drones

Drug laws must be amended to ‘combat racial discrimination’, UN experts say

UN human rights chief regrets closure of Burundi office following Government pressure

The Khashoggi affair: A global complot staged behind closed doors

IPCC reports devastating climate consequences; US in denial while EU does not fully support the 2050 net zero emissions target

EU Commission – US hasten talks to avoid NGO reactions on free trade agreement

General Data Protection Regulation shows results, but work needs to continue

Artificial Intelligence: These 3 charts show what people really think

Tougher defence tools against unfair imports to protect EU jobs and industry

China hails human rights progress amid calls to close detention camps

Antitrust: Commission imposes interim measures on Broadcom in TV and modem chipset markets

‘Passport to dignity’ that schools represent may expire fast, without emergency funding warns UN Palestine refugee agency

Around 52 million in Near East, North Africa, suffering chronic undernourishment, new UN food agency report reveals

The European Parliament declares climate emergency

‘You can and should do more’ to include people with disabilities, wheelchair-bound Syrian advocate tells Security Council in searing speech

These innovations could keep us cool without warming the planet

Climate change: Will COP23 be able to accelerate the implementation of the Paris agreement?

Safer roads: More life-saving technology to be mandatory in vehicles

ISIL continues to pose a ‘serious challenge’ worldwide – UN counter-terror chief

Moving from commitment to action on LGBTI equality

UN chief praises Malaysia’s death penalty repeal as ‘major step forward’

Antitrust: Commission opens investigation into possible anti-competitive conduct of Amazon

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s