Monday, August 31, 2009


I've been making a list over the last few weeks of things I'm still having to adjust too. Things besides the obvious...
  • Smog- it's rarely ever a non-hazy day
  • Grocery shopping several times a week- because I don't have a car and can only carry so much by myself, I can only buy a few things at a time. That means I have to go shopping 2-3 times a week. Of course, I'm not doing any shopping right now because my fridge is broken.
  • Taking 3 hours to do anything- because of the traffic and the need for public transportation things just take longer. You just have to factor in more walking time, the actual getting a taxi or catching the bus, the busy drives me crazy sometimes. And then sometimes I love it because it's so very Chinese.
  • Smoking in doors- you can smoke in any building here. It's just very strange to be eating dinner and have the person next to you light up. Not a big deal, just strange.
  • No answering machines or voicemails- I have no idea why not, but China doesn't have answering machines or voicemails. Texting is the way to go here. Or email. I rarely ever call people here. And if you know me, you know that just feeds my phone phobia (I hate talking on the phone unless you're one of my parents or five friends who know how it works)
  • Men not holding the doors/letting women go first- this does not apply to the men I work with. They're very gentlemenly. In the Chinese society, there's really no such thing as chivalry. I mean, they love their women but it's not really shown in a public societal (word?) way. If chivalry ever comes in to play, it'll be because of an older person with gray hair or a very pregnant woman. They do revere pregnant women. It's just an odd balance, something I love to watch being played out on a public bus.
  • The smells- when I say smells, I'm not referring to flowery-freshly-cut-lawn-BBQed-chicken-makes-you-love-the-summer-smell. I'm talking about plug-your-nose-close-your-mouth-and-run-away-as-fast-as-you-can-before-you-vomit-your-everloving-brains-out-because-you've-never-smelled-something-so-repulsively-disgusting. And they're every where. In one block, you can walk across 10 different unbelievably stinky smells. And they never mix. They are completely independent of any other smells in that area. Blech!
  • The niceness of the people- the Chinese are so incredibly kind and helpful. Lovely people. For instance, every day, I walk by the guard station to get to my bus. It's usually about 6:30 am and even though I'm not a morning person, I always yell "hello" (in Chinese) to them. And they, there's usually 2 or 3 of them, always yell "hello" back. Well, today I was running late and wasn't even thinking about it as I raced past them. All of a sudden, I had 3 grown Chinese men, yelling "HELLO" at me. They had the biggest grins on their faces. It was so sweet. These are the same men that have helped me on more than one occasion carry something to my building. And this isn't an unusual thing. The Chinese are always so kind and helpful. I love it!
  • Risking your life to cross a street- and when I say "risking", I mean "RISKING". You are literally playing "Frogger" every time you cross a street. One lane, stop. Two lanes, stop. Race across the last 3 lanes hoping the cars will slow down for you. But don't EVER run in front of a bus or a taxi because they just won't stop. Seriously.
  • Dragonflys- I've never seen so many. They travel in groups sometimes.
  • Smelling other peoples food in my apartment- I've lived in apartments before but this is the first time that I've been able to smell what other tennants are eating. Makes me very hungry most times.
  • The low counters- no joke, my kitchen counters come up to the middle of my thigh. I'm going to be permanently hunched over the next time you see me. Just call me "Quazzi".
  • The lack of guy friends- all the men are married here. They are lovely young (and older) men. And it's not even about having "single" guys here. It's about having guy friends. I've always had really close guy friends. In fact, most of my adult life, I've had a guy best friend or two. So, it's strange to be here and to be constantly surrounded by women. Love the women. Wonderful, amazing women. But strange to not really have any interaction with guys.

I'll add more to this list as I go on.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You seem pretty positive about things. I'm glad you are enjoying even the things that require adjustments.

Have you had any game nights yet?