So I’ve almost been in China for about a month now and a lot has happened that has really made me experience China for what it is. Although I’m certainly NO expert at all in comparison to people who have been here for years.
Some basic rules to know:
RULE 1:You will be stared at and stared at consistently.
Sometimes I try to see how long it takes for someone to take their eyes off of me. I read somewhere that if someone stares at you for longer than 7 seconds they either want to kill you, or have sex with you (It’s pretty drastic that those things are being compared and can be confused by a stare). And considering that people will slow down in their cars with their eyes locked and mouth gaping, my guess is probably the latter. But then again this study wasn’t done for white foreigners in China. So I could flatter myself, but really, I just have a big honking nose that people can’t get over.
RULE 2: Their polite is our rude (in most cases).
This one is a bit backwards and kind of hard to get over. Growing up in a society where if someone is rude, you have the right to be pissed at them and they understand why your pissed. Here, there are too many people to be polite, in the way that North American’s understand it. For example: waiting in line at a subway station, you just have to weasel your way into the car otherwise the door will close on you and you’ll have to wait for the next one. If there is an open space, guaranteed someone will take that spot. To them, it’s a free space and they better take it before someone else does. Even just standing in line where the line is literally going no where, you can and probably will feel someone touching you from some angle. This one I can never get over and it gets me pissed off every time. The second someone touches me to get me to move forward when it will literally make no difference, I actually try, and will step back so they move away from me. Some people will even stand beside you in the line, because if you let up, they will move in front of you. So, the rule with this one is, wear a backpack so that you can push some people back without having to touch them. I don’t know about you, but I don’t enjoy touching random strangers.
RULE 3: Get used to paparazzi.
People will take pictures of you. YOU’RE FAMOUS! And this one you can actually make it entertaining for yourself. It depends on your mood. It’s funny how sneaky people try to be. Personally, I’d rather have someone come up to me and ask me for a photo rather than sneak one. Ryan and I were actually sitting down waiting for a table in the mall, and this girl whips our her iPad. Since I’m sitting right beside her, she points it in my direction. I obviously won’t allow this, so I turn to stare at her and she quickly ‘notices’ something else that grabs her attention. Naturally she tries again once I look away. It was a fun game actually and kept me entertained during the wait. The second Ryan and I stood up to go to our table, she sits in my chair. I must leave some sort of magical North American fairy dust behind.
RULES 4: It’s either black or its white. But mostly it’s grey?
They have rules and love to follow them, or completely ignore them. This one changes all the time and it’s really quite strange and confusing to get a hold of. There’s small things like; if there is a lake around and there’s obvious signs that say no fishing, guaranteed someone will be fishing anyways. Or, there’s a lane specifically designated to bikes/mopeds, but if they feel like it they’ll go in the lanes with the cars. Or if there’s lots of traffic, screw the shoulders of the highway for emergency vehicles, that’s extra space to move forward! Red light you say? I’m in a hurry…I can’t stop. I’ll just honk my horn to tell people to watch out for me. The rule in North America about pedestrians coming first? That doesn’t hold here at all. Yes, they have signs to let you know when its safe to cross the road, but even so, cars will be creeping up to almost hit you, or mopeds will be coming through because they can do whatever the heck they want. It actually sounds more crazy than it is because as long as you’re aware of your surroundings, your 100% okay. Even if you’re not paying attention, Chinese people are pretty good at weaving themselves around and not hitting you. Just stay calm and don’t freak out.
RULE 5: Showing your bodily fluids in public is A-OK.
This one still grosses me out most of the time, and maybe will be most people’s issue when coming to China. Don’t be surprised to hear a man or a woman walking by you and hearing a low, scratchy gurgle in their throat leading to the horking-up of some serious spit. I’m actually impressed with some of the women that do it. Sometimes you’ll see these pretty, petite women and all of a sudden they just sound like a man. When I was observing a Chinese classroom, it was really funny to see that they had to make a rule about spitting in the garbage rather than on the floor. If you’ve been to China before, you’ll know that their floors are probably the most slippery floors you’ll experience, even outside! (Not safe at all when it rains!) So Im surprised I haven’t seen anyone slip yet on a nice puddle of spit, pee, or even puke…yum! But you don’t see this everywhere, so don’t go around thinking that China is gross and dirty, it’s not!
These are just some of the basic things that I’ve noticed here in China so far that are completely different from at home. And I’m sure that many people from home understand that these things happen. But it really is quite different experiencing it. Sometimes I get really mad about how much people stare at me, and I try to stare back at them until they look away. But really, considering the amount of people here in China, im fairly certain that I will not accomplish anything by staring back at them. I just get myself upset for no reason! So, I’ve been learning to ignore people. Listening to music really helps take you away from what’s going on. But I can tell you that if you are an attention whore, come to China!