Top 10 Things I will Miss

Sunset-Last Night

Sunset in Dali Old Town our last night

As you may have noticed from my previous blog posting, we will be returning to the U.S. following our 2 year language and culture studies in China.  In fact, our departure date is today!

While it would be foolish to believe I can anticipate exactly how reverse culture-shock will impact me, there are several things I “think” will be true.  Here’s my best estimate for a Top 10 List of what I think I will miss and what I will enjoy about returning to the US after 2 years in SW China.

Obviously, I will miss the many special friends and relationships we have developed over the past 2 years.  This will be the hardest part of transitioning back to the US, and I am omitting this most important category to keep this article light and enjoyable (at least for me!).

I THINK I will miss:

  1. Noodle shops (especially “拉面/lamian” which means “hand-pulled” or hand-made noodles)
  2. LOTS of daily human interaction (the relaxed, outdoor lifestyle here includes interacting with people on the street, on the bus, in the vegetable market, shops, restaurants, etc…)
  3. Being able to practice Chinese (everywhere!)
  4. Weekly traditional Chinese massage (< $10/hr)
  5. Riding motorcycle in the crazy local traffic!
  6. Shopping/buying from local shop owners/vendors (not the self-check-out at “big box” stores)
  7. Creative, artsy culture of Dali
  8. Natural beauty of Dali (Cang Shan mountains, vibrant flowers/colors throughout the year, beautiful skyscapes with dramatic light from the clouds as they roll over the mountains near sunset…and of course, Lake Erhai!)
  9. Farmers working in their small village gardens/fields
  10. Time…for spending with friends and building relationships
Version 2

My favorite “egg lady” – How can buying eggs be so much fun?!

Version 2

My last bowl of hand-made noodles…couldn’t resist!

I THINK I will enjoy:


  1. No longer living behind the Great Firewall (see upcoming article for why this is #1 on the list!)
  2. Being closer to family
  3. Butterfingers
  4. Ability to communicate with majority of society!
  5. Steak (think Ribeye!)
  6. Riding motorcycle in more predictable traffic patterns
  7. Tacos, Chips, Salsa
  8. Central heating (or effective winter heat of any kind!)
  9. US “standard” height countertops, tables, chairs…even vehicles!
  10. Fewer fish bones and bone shards in meat!

I’m sure there will be plenty of surprises during the coming months (and even years) as we experience life in our previous culture, but one that is no longer our only culture.  So, I hope to share some of those surprises in this blog with those who might be interested.

Copyright © Kevin Beaty, YUNEV and “Feet on the Ground…”, 2016.  All rights reserved.

What is it like living in China? – Part 2


Hand-made noodles with beef…one of my favorites!

Remember that line “Life is just a bowl of cherries”?  Well, I beg to differ.  Living in China has taught me that “Life is really a bowl of Noodles”!

This is the second blog in what may become a mini-series that shares a few thoughts re: the question “What is it like living in China?”  This time, I thought I’d share a few Things I Really Like and a few Things I Find Different.

Yes, I’ve heard from some of you that these entries may seem a bit random…but that’s exactly what living cross-culturally is like much of the time.  Different experiences seem to come at you from all angles…unexpectedly!  You may also notice a lot of these entries have to do with food…what can I say?!

Things I Really Like:

  1. Hand-pulled Muslim (wheat) noodles with beef for less than $1.50
  2. Chinese (rice) noodles with pork for less than $1.50

    Big, slippery, spongy rice noodles with pork…another favorite!


    Chinese noodle shop owner getting my order ready…yum!

  3. College cafeteria noodles (wheat or rice) with something like pork for less than $1.00!


    Rice noodles at the University cafeteria…not the very best, but very convenient!

  4. Simpler, slower pace of life – Adequate advance notice (invitation) for getting together with friends is “now”!
  5. Fresh fruit for dessert (e.g., sweet, crunchy, juicy pear…or, just passing a partially peeled orange around the table so people can take a wedge for themselves…or just a bite of fresh strawberry…better than many candies or sweets?!)

Things I Find Different:

  1. Kraft Parmesan Cheese as a delicacy!  (only available at the local “Western Foods Market” and possibly on the “western aisle” at Walmart.)
  2. Wearing the same clothes two days in a row…without your teacher or classmates noticing anything unusual (since there is a good chance they are also wearing the same clothes 2 days in a row!)
  3. Learning to look closely before buying face lotion, since many products on the shelf include active ingredients for whitening your skin (I’m OK with whitening my teeth, but my skin?!)


    Sometimes the “whitening” label is not so easy to identify (i.e., not in English)

  4. These days, most trips to the nearby (larger) city include a special treat of visiting KFC!  Can you imagine thinking of a trip to KFC as a special event?!  (In our local valley of 500,000+ people, there are really only 3 visual signs of US presence that I can think of:  1 Walmart, 1 McDonalds and 1 KFC.  That’s it.  Well, I guess I need to add Hilton now, since they had a soft opening for the Hilton Dali Resort and Spa just a couple of days ago.)KFCMenu


    Yes, I love Chinese food, but sometimes enjoying the Colonel’s Original Recipe without lots of bones in the chicken is a real treat!

  5. Cutting my wife’s hair (for the first time after 28 years of marriage).  Now, that’s different!  (She has curly, fine hair, but the local hairstylists specialize in cutting extremely straight, thick hair…not to mention the language barrier.)  Good news is it turned out just fine.

Oh, there is one other thing that is a bit different here:   No “live” coverage of the 2016 Presidential Primaries!

Copyright © Kevin Beaty, YUNEV and “Feet on the Ground…”, 2016.  All rights reserved.

Hand-Made Noodles!

Have you ever had fresh, hand-made noodles?  Have you ever seen them being made?!

Well, as much as I’d love to…I can’t offer you a bowl of noodles, but here’s a great video that shows how noodles are made-to-order, on-the-spot in a small street cafe in Dali Old Town.  As you watch, I hope you’ll be patient and realize that this is the age-old process of turning a lump of dough into beautiful, delicious noodles!  It’s worth a few minutes to catch a glimpse of what down-home cooking looks like – China style!  And, this video actually captures the making of both flat and round noodles.  No wonder this shop has become one of my go-to favorites for fresh noodles in Dali:

After all, what would a proper blog be without a post on food?  I hope you enjoyed this quick foodie experience…I’m sure there will be more to come!

BTW, the full length video will be available soon on YouTube (just in case you are interested in the complete process of stretching the noodles!)

Copyright Notice:

© Kevin Beaty, YUNEV and “Feet on the Ground…”, 2014-2015.  All rights reserved.