Today I went to visit a company I worked for 3 years ago... The management is Chinese/Finnish and the staff are westerners from Finland, Denmark, Belgium, France and Sweden plus some Chinese. Quite a mix, in other words.
One thing that bothers me when I visit this company is how people there (which I see about once a year when I place my annual visit) always tell me:
-Oh jonna, you look exactly the same!
(Well except for the guys. They have learned how to make a woman smile by now. Even before the take a good look at me they yell, 'JONNA YOU LOOK SO SKINNY!??!?!' And gosh, do I smile or what?!)
But seriously. I look exactly the same? Do I? really? 3 years ago my hair was reaaaaaaaaaally long! Like, really. And I believe I dressed differently. A bit more... I don't know. Colourless? And I never wore heels.
Compared to how I look now (pretty short hair, often dressed in colourful dresses and always in high heels) I believe there is a slight difference. Oh, and now I wear earrings! Before I didn't. Or did I? Well at least it feels like I didn't.
I suppose them telling me I look the same means I haven't put on weight. Or got any wrinkles. Or bad skin/cellulites/all those other things that we women are supposed to fear as we get older. So I guess their comments actually are good signs. I mean, imagine If they would have greeted me by saying:
-Jonna! Oh, you look so... healthy!
Which we all know, means: 'oh, you've put on some kilos! Good for you! (ha ha! -a NASTY 'ha ha')'
Or, they could be as blunt as my own dad was when I came home for Xmas after my first year in Australia in 2002:
-Jonna! I can tell that you have definitely not been starving over there!!!! Ho ho ho!!! Been putting on some kilos haven't ya?!
And then mom almost killed him. But it was too late. I didn't touch the Xmas pudding that year.
Meeting the Chinese management at this company is always different though. The managing director is from Beijing, so he's a very honest and direct man. He always tells me if I look skinnier/fatter than last time we met. This time he said nothing though. Very unlike him. I wonder what that means? (interpretation skills, anyone?!)
Anyways, after we'd finished those friendly greetings I proceeded into being introduced to some new Chinese people working for the company. Two of them are Shanghai girls and they were over the moon when I greeted them with a 'Nong hao!'
Actually, they were so happy to see me that the CEO suggested they'd join us for a beer after work.
-'Of course!!!' They gushed. 'We'd love to!!!'
Then I went to have a meeting with a journalist and the deputy editor, and when we 30 nmin later returned back to the office, at 5.15pm ('xia ban'/finish time is at 5pm) the place was empty. Everyone had left. Including the 2 'so-keen-for-some-after-work-beer-girls.'
I guess some things, just like my looks (apparently?) never change.