So, I have been living in China for almost two years now, and I must say that I love it! China is very unlike any other country I’ve visited – the culture, language and general feel of the place is very different in many ways! At first, the unfamiliarity of the country was very daunting, but now I guess I’m becoming more used to it. Most people are friendly and willing to help foreigners in any way they can. I speak a little Chinese, but often rely on my students to translate for me, or communicate with people through crazy gestures and so on. This is the way I communicate with the ladies who work in the college canteens, for example, who always seem exceptionally excited to see me!
A disadvantage of living in China is the air pollution… we have days when the air is quite literally black and you can’t see things that are more than one meter away! 😜 Also the traffic can get a little crazy! There only seem to be two traffic rules in China: don’t hit another vehicle and don’t hit any pedestrians. Otherwise, pretty much anything goes! Cars, buses and motorbikes will do anything to overtake each other -just to arrive at their destination a few minutes earlier! And they love to honk their horns constantly, seemingly just for fun!
Advantages of living in China are the friendly people (I have met many people that had never seen a foreigner before -so were very excited to meet me!) There are some beautiful places to visit in China -spectacular scenery, stunning mountain ranges, famous historic sights, temples and so on. Plus, I love the flowers in the spring and summertime. And the cost of living is relatively cheap! 😊
China is developing quickly, I see evidence of this everyday, with the huge amount of construction taking place everywhere in my town. Amid China’s development, I find that Chinese people are proud of their rich, 5000 year old culture and will do all they can to hold onto their traditions in the rapidly changing world, for example by continuing to practice tai ji in the parks, restoring old buildings (or rebuilding them as many had previously been allowed to fall into disrepair), or practicing traditional Chinese art and calligraphy. You can see many of these activities taking place in the parks in China, which are often blissful havens in the busy, bustling and crowded cities.
While I feel like I have gotten used to some of the more crazy aspects about living in China, there are some things that will never seem normal… People’s stares of disbelief at the sight of a foreigner, endless construction and finding a family of 4 squeezed onto a motorbike all seem quite normal now. Whereas, I will never be able to get used to the sight of children peeing and pooping on the street, the spitting and the overly crowded buses. But then again, who would enjoy travelling for an hour with your head stuck in someone’s smelly armpit, while the driver takes you over as many bumps and potholes as he can?! 😜
Photos are from the Green Expo Garden, Zhengzhou.