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Ambassador's love affair with ChinaBy Marisha Thakur
  The first words the Mexican Ambassador's 2-year-old daughter uttered were "ni hao". Her brother, meanwhile, is fluent in Chinese, Spanish and English and already has a Chinese girlfriend, at the ripe old age of 6.

"It is enjoyable to see my son speak Chinese - he's learning it at school," says Jorge Guajardo.

Born in Monterrey, Guajardo came to China with his family - wife Paola, son Jorge and daughter Beatriz - in June 2007. He was already used to life as an expat because he had gone and studied international relations in the US, briefly returned home, then gone back to the US to serve as his country's Consul General in Texas, in 2005. All up, he reckons he's visited 50 countries to date but says nothing prepared him for China.

"The first four months were shocking. I felt like a prisoner in my embassy," he says. "At weekends I'd be asked if I needed a driver. If I said yes, the driver would be waiting outside my door all day. If I said no, I'd be stuck at home. It was very frustrating."

So Guajardo decided to get a driver's license. "I enjoy driving here," he says of zipping around in Beijing, infamous for its undisciplined driving culture.

He says the Chinese are very friendly but understanding their culture can be tricky. People rarely say "no" but grasping the concept of losing face takes time. "These things strike you when you are new," says Guajardo. "When I'd ask someone 'do I have to do this?' they would say 'yes' and it wouldn't occur to me that what they really mean is 'yes, you don't have to do it'. These cultural nuances can be very confusing."

What he likes most about China is its people's dedication to hard work. "I travel a lot to industrial cities and that's a great way of meeting people who are the driving forces of this country," he says.

When he isn't working, Guajardo likes to read, work out at the gym, meet other diplomats and eat at new restaurants. "I love dumplings," he says. "I miss them when I'm in Mexico
source: (China Daily)

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