I came to China 2 months ago to learn chinese, and let’s just say it has been no walk in the park.
I love travelling, learning from new cultures and trying new things but in China, my trip didn’t start off all that well. Nothing bad happened, nor was I unhappy, it was just a major culture shock and it took a toll emotionally. I had been to China before, as a tourist but actually living here changes things.
I actually started writing this post about a month ago, but I realized it was going to be a huge rant and I didn’t want to come off as a super negative person, because I’m not. So I decide it to leave it pending until I started seeing things differently.
Even though I have embraced my new life, there are a few things that, I think, I will never be able to get used to. The little details about life in China that you are not aware of before getting here.
The bathroom. China has eastern style toilets. If you don’t know what I’m talking about here, it’s basically a hole on the floor with a porcelain hood covering it. So in order to use it, you have to squat. I don’t want to get too graphic with this, so you can follow this link to a pretty informative and funny article on how these toilets work.
In India, these toilets are common too, but mostly everywhere from trains to restaurants, you have both the eastern and western option. But not in China, every time I’ve gone out I’ve had to hold it till I get back home which luckily has a western style toilet.
The food. I don’t trust the meat I’m being served. Call me paranoid, but I have heard the stories about people eating dogs and cats without realizing it. Also chicken is mostly composed of bones and fat instead of actual eatable meat. And well, there’s all the other animals and animal parts that people enjoy here that I’m just not down to try. On the upside, I’m learning to eat and enjoy veggies that I didn’t use to like before, chinese people can cook up a mean broccoli.. Of course there are some good dishes I have tried, I just tend to keep away from anything with meat in it.
Social etiquette. Cars and bikes have priority on the streets even at a pedestrian crossing, no one will stop for you. Holding the door open, greeting people at stores and just being polite doesn’t happen often here. I’m so used to always saying hello, thank you and please, that it was very weird when my chinese friend told me ” you don’t need to say thank you to the waitress”.
The nightlife. Now this might not seem to be a relevant aspect of life, but as a 22 year old it kind of is. The concept of club in China is a bar with super loud music no space to dance, people playing a chinese dice game and only dancing when they are too drunk. This hopefully does not apply to every city in China, because I can’t go a year without dancing :p
With that being said, I’m happy to have chosen to come here as I know that I won’t only be learning chinese, but I will have a deeper understanding for Chinese and Asian cultures.