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20 Things That Change After Living In China

I can feel my opinions of what is socially/morally/economically acceptable change as my experience in China continues… Here are the main 20.

1. Hot water is king. It’s cured everything for generations and will continue to do so into the future.

Hotwater

2. There are indoor shoes and outdoor shoes. You’re not a barbarian.

Indoorshoes

3. It is 100% acceptable to eat an entire meal out of a plastic bag.

plastic bag

4. The party doesn’t REALLY start till 1am.

Clubs

5. If you’re sick, wear a mask. It’s only the polite thing to do since you’re a walking biohazard.

masks

6. If you need to spit, you probably should… indoors, outdoors, with your in-laws, with your employer, etc etc. The world is fair game.

spitting

7. Street signs are optional. Traffic is based on the discrepancy of the traffic flow.

traffic

8. Everyone has a price… even doctors.

china-money

9. Personal space is a luxury for rich people.

subway

10. Ma, ma, and ma are all different things. Don’t be ignorant.

ma

11. Having your picture taken by/with strangers is a normal ordeal. Your face is probably in the camera roll of at least a dozen Chinese people you’ve never met.

takingphotos

12. “404 Error” is the earthly devil manifestation.

404

13. “TIC” or “This Is China” is a perfectly acceptable answer to everything.

welcometochina

14. If something can go wrong, it will go wrong, and you need to accept that.

goingwrong

15. “It is impossible…” because people don’t want to do it, not because anything can’t actually be accomplished. (See #8 for suggestions)

Texting

16. TaoBao is the online Chinese version of Costco… but better.

taogao

17. Confrontation is immature. Instead, you must run around a problem several times, pray it’ll eventually go away, and then eventually hire someone to deal with it so you don’t have to.

arguing

18. “mmhmm hao mmhhm hao mhhhm hao de hao de hao de” is a perfectly acceptable phone conversation.

chinaphone

19. A “line” or “queue” is a mythical western manifestation. In China, there is just a point in which you should begin to crowd aggressively.

waiting

20. You were once new in China and someone helped you establish yourself. Karma is real. Pay it forward.


***

Do you live in China?  Tag me on Instagram @wanderonwards with a photo of how China has changed you and I’ll give you a shout out! Like my Facebook page @wanderonwards to stay on top of what’s going on in China and what resources you have available.  Follow my smart-ass comments on Twitter @wanderonwards and stay tuned for more articles!

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About Vanessa Elizabeth

Vanessa Elizabeth is a cultural chameleon currently based in London. She enjoys sports (such as CrossFit and dating), cooking, and demolishing her savings account. When she's not busy blogging about her feelings, she works full-time and practices Chinese with her English/German friends.

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  • Love the concept of your blog and look forward to exploring your other thoughts on life in Asia. I grew up in Japan and then China. #11 happened incredibly often, to the point that you almost felt like a rock star. Japan, people were usually polite enough to ask if they could take a photo or wanted to pose with me (I was quite blonde in my youth).

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  • j

    I agree with everything except the ‘no confrontation’ thing.

    China is one enormous bowl of anger, rage and confrontation. Subways, restaurants, banks….people are constantly fighting and arguing.

    JAPAN is where confrontation is avoided.

  • Hello! Just want to say I love your blog, and this post :) I’m living in China as well and can definitely relate to you in many ways. Feel free to stop by at my blog also :) Cheers, Michelle http://onewaytik.wordpress.com/