征文52 ▏Ana: Life in Beijing is a fun whirlwind

家外之家 2021
征文52 ▏Ana: Life in Beijing is a fun whirlwind
Name : Ana Padilla Fornieles姓名:Ana Padilla Fornieles

Country of Origin : Spain


Occupation : translator, freelance writer, secretary


Years in China : 6 years but who’s counting!


Time for Ice-Cream in Datong

How did your journey in China begin?


Once upon a time, there was an 18-year-old girl deciding on her undergrad major. She decided she wanted to graduate in Translation and Interpreting Studies, but what languages would she choose? That girl barely out of teenagehood was me, and I decided to come to Asia and so my second major language during university was Chinese. From acquaintances to university clerks, everyone warned me —Chinese is so very difficult, are you sure?

曾经有一个 18 岁的女孩正在选择本科读什么专业。她终于决定要读口笔译专业,她会选择什么语言呢?那个刚刚走出青春期的女孩就是我,我决定来到亚洲,所以我在大学期间选择中文作为我的第二外语。从朋友到大学职工,每个人都警告过我——中文非常难,你确定要学吗?

I’ve never looked back. I owe to 18 y.o. me and her decisions the chance to learn a fascinating language and come experience life in this faraway country where I have grown a better, more open minded individual. Plus, I’ve made some amazing friends and memories too!

我从来没有后悔。我感谢 18 岁的我和她做的决定,让我有机会学习一门有趣的语言,在这个遥远的国家体验生活,在中国我成长为一个更优秀、思想更开放的人。除此之外,我还结识了一些厉害的朋友,创造了一些惊奇的回忆。

What do you like most about Beijing?


I have always been based in Beijing and what I truly love here, despite the cost of life and the pure metropolitan chaos, is the feeling that Beijing truly never sleeps. I already could feel this back in my university days here at BFSU, but it’s doubly valid nowadays in my current chapter here, juggling my work life with my social life. Everyone I know is always enthusiastically involved with some personal creative endeavour. We’re also probably running short on sleep, and sometimes you realise that there’s this FOMO (fear of missing out) making you jump from one venue to the next, from one exciting plan with friends to the next. It can be tiring, but for the most part, I find it invigorating. It’s also about the community; as long as you’re diligent to find your hobbies and a tribe, soon enough you’ll find it’s hard to feel lonely or bored here. I’m part of a vibrant community of writers, artists, musicians, shakers and makers, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s s so inspiring, and it’s made me grow, as an individual and a creative.

我一直在北京工作,虽然北京生活成本很高,而且有着大都市独有的喧嚣,但我真的很喜欢这种不夜城的感觉。早在北京外国语大学读书的时候,我就能感觉到这一点。如今我不断游走于工作生活和社交生活,更能体会到这一点。我认识的每个人都在热情地参与一些创造性工作。我们的睡眠时间不足,FOMO (害怕错过)有时会迫使在不同的场所间飞奔,与不同的朋友社交。这可能会很累,但在大多数情况下,这带给我的是兴奋。这也与社交圈子有关,只要你孜孜不倦,找到你的爱好和圈子,你就不会感到孤独或无聊。我是圈子中的一员,这个充满活力的圈子是由作家、艺术家、音乐家、调酒师和创作者组成的,这就是我的归属。它鼓舞我,让我成长为一个独立的、充满创意的人。

At a Live Art Show at Aōtu Gallery (Beijing)

What fascinated you the most about living in China?


I guess it all boils down to this notion of “contrast”. Contrast between the most impressive technology that always takes longer to get to my home country and certain traditional cultural elements that persist; between the city and the countryside; between one corner and the next, between seasons, even. It’s this comprehensive experience that makes every day different. If you embrace this contrast, it can be a really enriching, foundational experience.


A Distant Memory of Travelling in Pingyao

What is your unique China story?


My unique China story is made of a mosaic of faces and a kaleidoscope of memories accrued over time and space(s). It’s made of leisurely walks in the hutong, where you stop for a second to close your eyes and truly soak up the sweltering glory of a Beijing summer. It’s smoky and bustling, like the live music venues I hit with friends. It’s quirky and whimsical, like the tunes of the Chinese indie pop music I love to listen to. It’s complex — to every up there is inevitably a low, such is life and I have my own challenges here too. It’s my own story, and I like to think I’ve written it myself as much as I can.


Looking at the Horizon from Longqing Gorge

Add a random fun fact about your country or hometown


My hometown, Granada, is known in history as the last Muslim Kingdom of Spain! We owe a lot to our Muslim heritage in terms of architecture and monumental spots, and are proud of their contribution to the beauty of Granada.


作者: Ana 翻译:潘泽彬

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