Sunday, April 8


This week I've been a little busier than normal with visitors who came on their Easter break and a new roommate. Both have been fun to have and have allowed me to notice a few things about life here that I've become used to. I'll list a few.

Crossing the street is an art. You have to have a mix of about 85% courage and belief that the drivers will see you and swerve around you on a busy street and 15% caution to know when is not the right time to step out. On a busy street that has pedestrian lights (there are a few of these), you can (and should) follow them, but you can't trust them.

Street muck and stink is common. You just get used to it. But, occasionally you get a refreshing smell of cooking rice or roasting sweet potatoes. You have to know how to ignore the nasty smells and breathe deeply of the nice ones.

Buses don't always stop fully for you to get on, but don't worry, because the guy who takes your money will pull you up by the arm if you need it. He'll also push you (gently) off if you don't get off quickly enough. The driver is not your friend. He will not go slowly over bumps or wait for you to get your footing or a hold of anything before he steps on the gas. He might even take pleasure in seeing you fly into someone's lap (at least I imagine that's his secret entertainment).

Weird things about my apartment: The toilet doesn't flush well. There aren't many electric plugs (this is why there is a huge market for extension cords in China). There is a window in between the two bedrooms because the inside bedroom doesn't have another window. The water heater takes a good 45 minutes to heat up for a shower and the other faucets aren't connected to the water heater so the water that comes out of them is ice cold. The on and off switch on the oven doesn't work so you have to plug and unplug it to turn it on and off. The military guys at the base that we are right next to sometimes come and shout at the statue that is right below the apartment at 6am.

There are probably other things too, these are just the things that I have found myself explaining (or not able to explain) recently.


RD said...

isn't it funny the little things you become accustomed to but are probably considered great inconveniences by most. And I guess they are but I think most people could be much more adaptable to these "inconveniences" if they just change their expectations. Hope you're enjoying all the ins and outs of overseas living . . . and now you'll probably appreciate that on/off switch on your oven in the future for years to come!

WorldCultureNet said...

Hi ChinaChat -- I've enjoyed exploring your blog! I'd like to feature you as an Expat blog on WorldCultureNet. Would it be all right if I let my readers know what your "home culture" is? Thanks!

One Woman said...

Hi there! I haven't checked in with you in awhile. I liked reading this post. How fun it would be to come visit you. It's weird to think of snow in April, being in Texas and all. Much love to you!!