Nie Xin walked into my ESL-level Principles of Communication classroom full of energy and began enthusiastic verbal activity with the other Chinese students. In other words, she was laughing and talking a lot. That was not normal for my new Chinese students. But it was a semester that was starting in January. Spring semesters were always a little different because most of the students had been at Harding for a semester and already knew each other.
In January of 2015 there was a gentle knock at my office door. My office door is almost always open, so before I turned around to see who wanted to see me I heard a soft female Chinese voice that said, “Hello, are you Professor Shaner?” A Chinese woman was standing there and introduced herself as Catherine (her American name) and that she was told I was looking for a Chinese language teacher.
One thing I learned very quickly from my many excursions to China is the word guanxi 关系.
Almost as soon as I landed and started conversing with others, I was told that I seem to have a lot of Guanxi! I wondered, but didn’t want to ask, what in the world they meant by that? So, I looked it up.
Steve Shaner, also known as Xie Yeye, is a professional story teller that delights in traveling to meet new and old friends. He can be contacted at email@example.com.