Today is the 3-month anniversary of Ryan and I arriving in China so I thought I would take this moment and pause to reflect on our new life.
Overall things are going great. We are getting accustomed to being strangers in a strange land eating strange things. And many of my misconceptions of China, and Chinese people, have been shattered. Misconceptions such as:
- Not all Chinese people look alike
- And not all of them are skinny
- Gross looking food can taste good (as long as I don’t know what it actually is)
- Buying fruit from the back of a rusty motorized bicycle is perfectly safe
- You can get by with a very small grasp of the language
Of course there are things that I am not used to, and not sure I will ever get used to even if I lived here for a decade. Things like:
- Squat toilets (although I’m quite the expert at using them now)
- Lack of good crusty, yeasty bread
- Being stared at
- Getting a bowl of noodles with chicken feet or heads sticking out of it
- Seeing young children poop and pee in the street usually where I walk
I think the hardest thing is constantly being stared at. I’m a private person who likes to blend in with the crowd and just do what I need to do. But here, my blond hair and overall ‘western’ looks (aka taller and bigger) makes me stand out everywhere we go. When I am riding my bike into town cars and people on scooters will zoom up to me and just stare. When we are in a store a clerk will follow us around right on my heels and the girls behind the counter talk about us in giggles and whispers. When we walk through the night market people constantly whisper about us and debate if we understand what they are saying.
But I don’t regret being here for a second, and sometimes I marvel that we had enough gumption and fortitude to actually uproot our lives like we did to make this major change. These past three months have gone by very quickly, and at the same time I almost feel like I’ve been here for much longer.
I wonder what the next 3 months will bring? I’ll let you know Feb 28th, 2010!