Three years ago I wrote a post called 10 Signs You’ve Lived in China a Long Time. It was a post about all the culture differences I’ve grown accustomed to over the years.
At this point I’m so used to China I’m not really sure what I do differently anymore. I mean, it’s been almost 8 years and I would do things differently even if I lived in America. So I can’t really separate myself, and my habits, from Chinese culture. Maybe it’s just “getting older” habits.
But, lately I’ve come across a few things that made me realize just how damn long I’ve been here.
You know you’ve been in China a long time when……
You have medicine that expired 4 years ago.
I have no idea how this even happened. I have one tiny shoebox with all my medicine and I barely have any. A package of cold medicine, some Imodium, iron pills. Yet, I went through the box and cleaned it up the other day and found over 50% of it had expired. Then I found this little gem. Unbelievable that I have been here for so long that I can have such old medicine.
You have a Windows XP install disk
I’m not even a PC person anymore (I switched to Mac’s five years ago) yet I found a XP installation disk from 3 computers ago. It was the computer I brought with me to China and I’ve been unassumingly lugging this installation disc around with me since then. 16 year old technology anyone?
Your babies have babies
This one is the one that makes me feel oldest. My babies, my precious students that I taught for four years, have moved on and began their adult life. I remember when the first one got married and how excited I was for them. But now with 60 of my babies, and dozens of other students I keep in regular touch with, marriage and newborns is just the norm these days.
I was cleaning up my computer the other day when I looked through a folder called “future blog posts.” It was just kinda a catch-all for pictures of blog ideas. I haven’t look at it or used it for years apparently and I found all these pictures from 4-5 years ago that I totally forgot I had.
Look at this picture….
So cute, right? Well two are moms and 4 are married. (One I lost touch with so maybe she’s married with a kid, but I don’t know. So we’ll say no.) One of their classmates, not in this picture, went to America to have her baby so now her kid and I are countrymen.
Hella weird for me. They were just cute little students yesterday. How could they be married with kids today?!
Your lessons accidentally change
At this point, I have honed and perfected my speaking class lesson plans to a point I don’t need to change them, I just do the same ones year after year. One of the most popular lessons is a trivia game where I have prepared cards and I use the same cards I made around six, seven years ago.
Only time has moved on and some of my questions have changed and gotten more complex. Like “How many Star Wars Movies are there?” On the original card I wrote 6. But now, new ones are being made and is Rouge One an official one? I mean, it is, but it’s not the main story, ya know? So I allow the answer to be 7 or 8. And with more Star Wars movies coming, it will continue to change.
It’s weird to have so many reminders that time is passing because in many ways, China still feel fresh and new to me. Yet, with old medicine and new babies I’m forced to realize I’ve been here a long, long time.