I’ve been dying to write this next blog because maybe you’re all wondering what AM I doing here in China. I went on a nice rant about toilets, smells and people in my last blog, possibly putting down China a bit too much. I mean there’s lots of things I’m missing at home, and things I’m experiencing here that aren’t necessarily pleasant. But things are just different here. I’m getting used to it and it’s a process. I’m learning a whole new culture, and I’m understanding how their world keeps turning despite how completely opposite everything seems! Obviously China is doing something right, considering their massive population. So, it’s up to me to just deal with it. I do my best, but I don’t always take it well. Sometimes all the noises and smells, pushing and shoving get to me, but I am in their country and I chose to be here. So I better play by their rules. I mean, some days I’d really rather wear this contraption:
…but I also don’t want to look like a complete idiot. Excellent invention though.
Anyways, throughout some experiences that I’ve shared with you, there’s been up’s and downs of experiencing them. I think most people would call this ‘culture shock’, which is exactly how it feels sometimes: shocking to be experiencing something so different.
At times I’ll feel thrilled that things are so different, and other times I want to kick and scream and have a 2 year old breakdown (not really…but maybe similar). I think it’s just being mentally stuck in how things “should be” because that’s what I grew up with. My parents (and probably most of yours) always told me to behave and act a certain way; what was acceptable and what wasn’t. Now, all of that is being tested! I guess the point is, nothing ‘should be’ a certain way. Although I think many of us like to think we know the best way to be doing things.
But like I said, China has a huge population and many people are living happily here (I think). So if one day China takes over the world,
Reason #1 why I like China:
At least I’m getting used to the culture now and learning the language. I’ll be able to survive!
Jokes aside, there’s a bunch of reasons why I’m really loving it here in China.
Things are CHEAP
Yes this is the first thing on the list! Who doesn’t like saving money?? Food, water, transportation, electronics, bags, purses, shoes…etc. Let me know if you all need a shipment of cheap items! Of course you have to go to the fake markets for these retail items. Real stuff is about 4 times as expensive. I think that’s why we see many Chinese people with extremely nice cars at home. It’s cheap for them!
I can bargain for a price
At home, in most places at least, there’s always a price tag on something and you must pay that price. Take it or leave it. I find it pretty awesome that if I go to a ‘fake market’ here in China, I’ll pay as much (or as little) as I want to pay! And they can take it or leave it.
I don’t have to pay for transportation to/from work, and my living expenses are paid for. Love it!
For most people that come to work in China from a foreign country, I’m pretty sure at least housing is paid for. So even if they have to pay for food and transportation, it’s still SO cheap!
I don’t have to worry about car insurance, hydro, rent…etc
I don’t even have to worry about cleaning: like dusting, mopping, changing towels. It’s pretty luxurious that we get to live in a serviced apartment! We do still have to do laundry and dishes though. And that’s fine with me.
Alcohol is cheap!
I’m not an alcoholic, but thank goodness for this! Sometimes alcohol is what you need when you’re in the middle of a culture struggle. Most of the time alcohol is cheap. This is kind of like at home where depending on where you are, the price will go up or down. If you’re going to an average bar, the alcohol here is WAY cheaper than at home. Example: We found a really good place where you can get a bucket of rum & coke (or whiskey & coke) for 30RMB….well…that’s about $6. And there’s a good amount of rum in it too, in a large bucket. A bottle of beer I’ve found as cheap as $3. But it you’re going to a high end bar, the cocktails will be around $16. At a high end restaurant, imported wine will be crazy expensive. We just stay away from those places…
You can get alcohol anywhere
There’s convenience stores everywhere that carry it, grocery stores have it, some malls have alcohol…it’s very convenient to get alcohol.
I only drink on weekends though dad, it’s okay 🙂
Besides the expense side of things, there’s other things I enjoy about being here in China.
It’s BEAUTIFUL here
I’m amazed all the time with how well the roads are kept clean, and how the gardens and other landscapes are always maintained. As well, most of the temples and other major Chinese buildings look amazing. Before coming here, I just assumed that there would be way too many buildings for any greenery or flowers. I was pleasantly surprised with lots of green!
Chinese food is delicious!
I LOVE trying new and exotic foods; even if it smells funny or looks gross. China has all sorts of foods that are quite different than ours. What is really cool about China is that they utilize everything in their meal. They will use all parts of an animal, which leaves us foreigners in for a surprise when we order a dish thinking it’s one thing and find out it has a billion bones in it. But Chinese food has a lot of flavour to it. They love using oils and spices to really add to their meals. While I may not love every Chinese dish I try, I do think their food is really good. It’s nothing like Chinese food at home (although I love that type of Chinese food too…)
Travelling is easy
Being here makes us closer to a lot of places than we would be from home. So China makes you want to travel when you have the chance!
Everything is new
We’re discovering China! Which makes us want to go out on the weekend, see new places and try new foods (not always, but most of the time).
People are friendly
I mentioned in other blogs about how much Chinese people stare, and seemingly could care less about personal space (and how I can get angry about this). But to be fair to them, they’ve always been used to this method. It’s normal to them to behave the way they do. And it’s not rude (people here don’t get pissed off like I do). Otherwise I don’t think the population would be as large as it is if they all couldn’t stand each other. Anyways, all I have to do is smile or say ‘Ni hao’ to a Chinese person and they will usually smile and say it back. I feel like once you start talking to them, they’re really friendly. For the most part, I think they love foreign people. They’re a really curious group of people and just want to know what we’re like.
They are great multitaskers
I mentioned in the last blog about taxi drivers. It sums this one up! You get where you want to go very quickly because of these multi-tasking taxi drivers (try say that 5 times fast). The driver will be swerving around other cars, will be chatting on the phone, and have the music playing. I’ve also seen them read books on their phones while driving, and all the while in the crazy traffic, managing to keep a good awareness of their surroundings. That’s impressive! The same thing goes for when people are walking. Most of them can be texting on their phones and know when to move so they don’t bump into someone. Despite their chaos, it makes sense to them and they do well with it!
China is getting me out of my comfort zone
I know I don’t always handle things the best way, and being here really challenges my thoughts and behaviours. I see this as a great thing, that’s helping me expand my thoughts and learn different ways of thinking/being. I think this will in the end, make me a more well-rounded person. If anything, it’ll help me get more comfortable with change. Also, China is really helping me expand my patience! It’s slowly getting better. But of course we all have our days!