Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Mandarin Meet Up

Not long after I moved to Jersey City, I started using meetup.com. A few friends in town used it to plan events and meet new people. Of course, I rarely attended the local events. However, I also found a Mandarin Monday group in New York that seemed to have regular meetings.

The first couple times I went to the meetings, it was in a large restaurant by the Empire State Building. Unfortunately, the food was rather bland and expensive. But, the people were fun to talk with, even if some of them spoke little to no Mandarin. As I began teaching at the community college, I couldn't attend the meetings in the city. Or, more accurately, I was too tired to take the PATH into the city for an expensive dinner.

Since then, they group has changed restaurants a few times. Now, they meet at Great Sichuan (not to be confused with my favorite Chinese restaurant in Jersey City, Grand Sichuan), which serves much better food at a cheaper price than the original meet up restaurant.

Last night was one of the more interesting meetings of the group. It was only 10 people (we had more than 20 last week). It was mostly an older crowd that didn't speak much Chinese, but they provided some interesting conversation. One attendee spoke with me about visiting Xinjiang--he had visited the province in the late '80s. Another one got to see Shenzhen from the Hong Kong border in the years just prior to Deng Xiaoping, when the city was still a collection of fishing villages with a population of about 20,000.

Now that classes begin again next week, I hope I can find the time and energy to attend more of these meet ups. It might provide more motivation to study.

2 comments:

Elizabeth said...

Matthew - I love your blog! I went to college in Hoboken, worked in Cape May for a summer ... And am traveling with my husband to a bunch of places you talk about in your blog. We will also be visiting Shenzhen in a few weeks and I was wanting to ask your advice about hiring a student or someone local as a translator/informal guide. I will try to mail you separately. Keep up your blog - it's interesting and fun! Elizabethwawa@gmail.com

Erika said...

Hi Matthew!

I just found your site and I really like the way you blog, sharing experience with interesting comments and nice pictures :)
I have myself a website called www.weekend.com.sg which aims to list all the best travel blogs in South-East Asia. Since I think that you really offer a quality content, I'm convinced that your blog would interest my visitors. Would you agree to have your RSS feed integrated in my metablog? This way my users could access your blog, and you would have more readers as they would be automatically redirected to your site.

I'm looking forward to hearing from you and to reading your new posts :)

I wish you a great week and a successful year of the rabbit!

Erika