We get this question periodically and I thought it might be fun to share just a few (Top 10) items that have been on my mind the last few weeks. It’s been just over 6 months since my last blog posting, so it seems about time to post an entry. Language learning has been my primary focus for the past several months (in addition to soaking up culture) so things have been quiet on the blogging front.
These entries are brief, so please feel free to post Comments (or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org) if you’re interested in more detail on any of the following:
Today’s Top 10 Questions re: “What is it like living in China?”
- Do you ever find yourself struggling to keep track of different currencies when transferring and tracking funds between various accounts (one in US dollars, another in Hong Kong dollars, and a third in Chinese Yuan)? Me too.
- Do you occasionally find yourself in the shower, ready to rinse off the soap, when the water supply is cut off…without warning…without explanation…with no real certainty when the water supply will return? Yeah, me too.
- Do you ever find yourself at Walmart thinking “Hmmm, I feel like I really want a whole dried fish, whole dried squid, whole dried eel…!” Me either.
- Do you ever wish you could just drop your toilet paper in the toilet bowl (rather than in the waste basket) and flush? Yep, me too.
- Do you ever wonder what’s the best transportation option when it rains or snows? Our choices are:
- A.) Walk,
- B.) take the bus (and then walk),
- C.) ride a bike (and then walk), or
- D.) ride the scooter (and then walk).
- When the weather is bad, we typically opt for the bus.
- Do you ever dream about what it might be like to have unlimited access to the Internet? Even with our relatively modest (low) bandwidth (and a very good VPN), the idea of being able to freely visit sites that you select is virtually impossible most days (and nights). Some call it the “Great Firewall” effect. I call it the new “normal”!
- Do you ever find yourself without any personal space at all (on all 4 sides) and you’re not even uncomfortable about that anymore? That’s a big YES for me (remember, one of our family vehicles is the local city bus!).
- Do you ever find the temperature inside your home below 50F and you just want to reach for the thermostat and turn on the heat…but there is no thermostat…and there is no heat? That’s a daily experience for us in Dec, Jan and Feb.
- Do you ever find yourself snacking on sunflower seeds with friends thinking “Wow, this is so simple and such a wonderful way to get to know people in a more relaxed setting than our normal busy schedules.” I love it when this happens! It’s always a special experience when we visit local friends’ homes and even when waiting for the food at some restaurants.
- Do you ever ask yourself “What am I doing here?!”? (You might fill in the blank with your current “location”, your current “job”, a particular “relationship”, your “house”…or whatever situation you may find stressful or difficult or puzzling). On the worst of days, do you say to yourself: “This has got to be one of the craziest things I’ve ever done.”? Then…the very same day, do you realize how thankful you are to have the incredibly rare privilege of disconnecting from the busy-ness, comfort and convenience of life to learn a new language and culture along with all the sights, sounds, tastes, smells and wonderful people that are a natural part of that process? I must admit I’ve taken a ride on this emotional rollercoaster in China…at least once or twice! Others tell me it is a normal part of living cross-culturally.
Copyright © Kevin Beaty, YUNEV and “Feet on the Ground…”, 2016. All rights reserved.