Spring festival is the biggest holiday in China and a really good chance to dig into and participate in Chinese culture.
So what did I do? Got a buttload of KFC and played board games with foreigners all night. Cause sometimes you just don’t China.
I mean, I’ve been here for seven years. I’ve learned the traditions, I’ve followed the fun. My door still has last year’s 对联 (rhyming couplet) around the door, I’ve watched the CCTV Spring Festival Gala, eaten dumplings, spent my nights outside watching fireworks. I’ve even spent the holiday in a teeny, tiny village in the countryside, the only foreigner to have been there in remembered history.
For the first several years, I wanted to do everything Chinese. I figured I only had a short time in China and I wanted to learn and observe as much as I could. I rarely ate western food, stayed away from foreigners, dated guys who couldn’t speak English and generally took every opportunity that was given to me. And it was awesome.
But now this is my life. The holiday isn’t a new cool, cultural experience for me anymore. I’ve done the traditions before and I’ll do them again. So if I don’t want to for once, then so be it. I’m not gonna feel guilty about it.
Because I did used to feel guilty of not China-fying every moment, wanting to justify myself if I was at, say, McDonald’s “I haven’t eaten western food in months! I’m not the type of foreigner who relies on McDonald’s!” I would want to tell every patron around me. I hate when foreigners come to China and don’t take advantage of living in a different culture, and I never wanted to be one of those people.
But now? Fuck it. If you judge me for eating at a McDonald’s, or sitting with a bunch of white friends during the biggest holiday, okay. It doesn’t affect me or my life, so judge away.
‘Cause sometimes you just don’t China.