The 12 Things I Love About You.
- Chinese is hard!! You’d think that even after being surrounded Chinese here and there for at 10 years, I’d get around better than I do. Speaking aside, there is literally a character for every single word you can imagine AND it’s not based off sounds like English is. As much as I love being in a foreign country, the complexity of the language makes it a lot harder to read and get by than I originally thought I would. Probably explains why everything I eat either is a dumpling (because I can recognize the word) or has a picture attached to it. And I can guarantee you by the end of this semester, we will still not know anything.
- You get a good squat workout from going pee. The Chinese toilet is one that everyone should be aware of before they arrive in China. Despite it being physically better for you, it smells bad since people continually don’t aim quite right.
- Pollution isn’t everything. Everyone has this stigma about China and the pollution. While I’m not going to lie there are days where the pollution is horrible, it is not everything. There are days where it is bright and sunny and you do not even notice a speck of pollution in the air, and others where it feels like you are walking through a haze. I suspect in the winter I will get sick of it, as they burn more and more coal to heat our freezing bodies, and the pollution gets worse, but for now, I’m enjoying the pretty fresh air.
- Physical Contact is real, whether you like it or not. In some ways it’s cute. You can walk hand in hand with your friend, and it’s completely normal. But, then you also have the pushing in crowds. Chinese are fearless when it comes to lines. Cutting isn’t a thing, it’s a lifestyle with no shame.
- People people everywhere.
Yes, there are billions of people in China. So if you’re the kind of person who needs time away from masses of people, the only time to do that is in the dead of night when there are no lights.
- Americanized Chinese is not American.
You can go to an Americanized restaurant and order nachos, and you might get a plate of fried chips with no cheese (because Cheese isn’t a thing here). Probably how the Chinese feel when they come to America and are forced to eat crab Rangoon. Which is something I still have yet to find in China.
- Fascination galore. People here are fascinated by the smallest things in China whether it be Michelle Obama, Leonardo DiCaprio, or even High School Musical. AND, they’re fascinated by us, especially when we’re working out. Not even kidding, I’ve had women come over when I’m doing abs and just mimic my actions.
- WIFI sucks, accept it. Almost every shop or restaurant here has WIFI, however, it is not good. It’s one of those things that I’m trying to embrace, and probably good to cure my snapchat addiction.
- Cheap Meals. As a foodie, this was perhaps the biggest bonus to coming to China. Now in one day, I can treat myself to at least three meals full of freshly squeezed juice, dumplings, steamed buns, bubble tea, pancake wraps, noodles, rice, or whatever I’m really feeling for around $10 a day. The downside, the food here, at least in Beijing is very oily. And, the food is also very carby. I love my fresh fruit stand just down the block from my dormitory, but that’s about the only way I get in my 5 fresh fruits and veggies a day.
- Cheap Thrills. If/when you live in China, you start to see everything in RMB. There are about 6 RMB per dollar. Thus, my wallet is rolling in bills, literally.
- TaoBao is addicting. Taobao is pretty comparable to American Amazon, but it’s even better. You can get just about anything from TaoBao including eggs, clothes, phone chargers, or even white noise machines. The only catch? The website is entirely in Chinese. Thank goodness for my Bing Translator (because Google doesn’t work here) and pictures. But if you spend hours on it and search well like I do, you can get very very good/cheap deals on whatever you’re looking for.
- Time flies when you’re having fun. As cliche as this sounds, it is just setting in that I’ve been here for a month already, and there is still SO much of Beijing alone that I have left to see. It’s hard when you want to establish a routine to get out and explore, but it’s one thing that I have to consciously make an effort to do.