5 Things I Love About China

2017-04-02

It’s been a while since I wrote my last post on the 5 Things I Hate About China. Having been living in Korea for a month now I have been missing a few things in Beijing. I still don’t miss the pollution or the slow ass internet. But, there are a few things I do miss.

Food

I miss the variety of food. I didn’t eat a lot of Western foods while I was in Beijing. Ninety percent of the time I would eat Chinese food. My favorite dish was fried squid, sliced potatoes, and rice. China seriously has good local cuisine. One of my favorite food to order for lunch was a pork or chicken (never figured out what meat it was lol) rice bowl with cumin and black pepper and a spicy sauce. Currently where I live in Korea I’m eating at the same places a lot. I do need to get on the apps and start ordering food here. But in China you can find local cuisine, western food, Indian, and many other types especially regional food from across China. Another favorite meal is hot pot or Shabu-shabu. Hot pot is a soup which can be spicy or more like a soup broth that you dip thinly sliced meats, vegetables, and tofu in until they are cooked.

Cost of Living

The cost of living in China is cheap. Compared to rent in America it’s pretty cheap even for a 1 bedroom place. But for Beijing it’s very expensive about 5500 RMB ($798~ USD) especially with the second ring of Beijing near the popular foreign areas. My rent was 4000 RMB ($580~ USD) which I paid in 3 month installments. But when it comes to food and going out it’s very cheap in Beijing. My favorite lunch dish that I ordered was only 23 RMB ($3.34 USD) and that was for the bowl, extra meat, and the drink it came with. Even ordering my favorite dish was only a 100 RMB ($14.52 USD). Going out for with friends I would spend under $50 dollars for drinks and food. In Beijing after putting aside money for rent and sending some home, I would live off of 4000 RMB a month.

Travel

In and around China travel is very cheap. It’s even cheap to fly out to countries such as Thailand, Cambodia, Philippines, and Japan. When I went to Chongqing, China I spent about 3000 RMB (~ $400 USD) for the entire trip which was for 6 days. That was including food, flight, train tickets, hostels, and some shopping. In Shanghai I spent about 3200 ($450 USD) RMB while I was there and that was for 4 days. I didn’t travel as much as I wanted to while in China and didn’t go to a lot of the places that I wanted to. A goal of mine when I decide to return to the States is to travel through China for a month.

Public Transportation

The one thing I am going to miss about Beijing when I eventually return to America is the public transportation. I hated driving when I lived in Texas. I hated owning a car and having to pay for all the maintenance fees. I love that Beijing and even Korea have great public transportation. The fact that it is also cheap to get around Beijing was great. The most I paid for the subway was 25 RMB to get to the airport. Generally I would pay anywhere from 4 to 5 RMB (less than a dollar) per ride on the subway.  Also taxies in around the city are very cheap. It was even cheaper to split it with people. I also loved walking and biking around the city. It’s going to be really hard for me to go back to Texas or anywhere in the States that doesn’t have good public transportation.

Safety / Lifestyle

Beijing is one of the safest cities in the world. I never felt more safe in a city. You could be out late and walking around at 3 in the morning and no one will bother you. But that doesn’t mean you should not have common sense and be aware of your surroundings. Also the lifestyle in China is very easy. For expats, you can have an easy comfortable life in China. In China, there is also this out of sight out of mind mentality. Many things are just over looked and not a major deal in China. I also think it’s because there isn’t such a religious bent in China and you don’t have a lot of the hang ups that religion brings as you would in the West. For me I never felt pressured to do things or act a certain way because it wasn’t a big deal in China. For Chinese people, it’s a little different because they have the pressures of getting married, getting a good job, or get into a good school, and buy a house. But for expats you don’t really have those pressures.

P.S. I will miss the friends that I made in Beijing. That’s probably one of the hardest things you must get use to when you decide to leave a country.

My friends

These are the 5 things I will miss about China. For me China was a rollercoaster. I had my ups and downs while living in Beijing but, I did enjoy my time while there. For those who are adventurous I would recommend China to you. Someone once asked me if I would ever return to China. Currently where I am at in life and graduate school I would say, not right now. But if I were to go back to China it wouldn’t be Beijing. I would consider somewhere like Shanghai, because it’s a much more cosmopolitan city.

 

 

 

 

Five Things I Hate about China

2017-01-06

In 46 days, I will be leaving Beijing, China for South Korea. In the last 10 months, I have had many ups and down days with China. Overall I’ve had a great time in Beijing, but I’m definitely ready to move on. On most days, these things don’t bother me, but there are times when nothing seems to be going right and it all comes to a boiling point. So, let’s just jump into it.

 

Censorship

 

 I hate the fact that I have to VPN for every social media that I use. Social media is the only way that I can keep up with my friends and family in America. Here in China; Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, and all Google apps are blocked, plus many more sites. Seventy percent of foreign websites are currently blocked in China. It makes you feel disconnected from everything when you can’t readably access these apps.  Also, here you can’t get Hulu or Netflix because they have content that the government wouldn’t like here in China. For example, anything depicting homosexual acts is banned in China. There’ve been popular TV shows that have had to cancel productions because the content centers around a homosexual relationship. Censorship is also a way for China to save Face or Guanxi (One way to describe Face is that it is the prevention of embarrassment at all costs). So, because they can’t control or pressure foreign apps/ companies to take down what is published on sites about their officials, themselves, or the Chinese people, they will ban it from being used in China.

 

Internet

 

Because of the Great Firewall/ all the censorship in place, the internet here is really slow and spotty. Imagine dial up internet and that’s what you could be working with sometimes. Whenever the government decides to go on a VPN blocking party it makes the internet even slower and good luck accessing Hulu or Netflix. There are times/ days that the internet just doesn’t work. I’ve gone into the office and can’t connect to the Wi-Fi for hours or even days at a time. In the last three and a half months I have had to go to several different cafes to get a decent connection so that I could use my VPN and connect to Blogger and Facebook Pages to submit my assignments for my graduate classes. We use an interactive webpage to teach our classes and there are been days where it takes 10 minutes to just load the intro pages because the internet is unreliable.

 

Atmosphere/ Environment/ Pollution

 

I hate having to wear a face mask. The only good thing about this is that it protects your face from the bitter cold wind when you’re walking outside. The pollution here can make you feel sad and depressed. It’s a gray blanket that hangs over the city for days. It also makes everything dirty and gray. With the pollution comes dust and dirt that never goes way and gets on and into everything. For instance, I have had to start washing my clothes twice just to wash out the dust out of them and then they will accumulate more dust, while drying. No matter how much you clean, the dirt and dust comes back in hours because it’s in the air. When you walk out of your apartment you will see piles of trash just sitting in the middle of the courtyard or bins over flowing. You can walk down the street and you will see people burning trash in the street or just throwing their trash on the ground. If you’re a germaphobe and a clean freak China will be your worst nightmare. If you come to China I recommend that you buy an air purifier.

 

No Common Courtesy

 

When I say no common courtesy, Chinese people just don’t think of others. They will cut in front of you when you’re inline at the subway or store, bump into you on the subways or in the street. Many times, I have had people just stop in front of me on the escalators, stairways, at the subway turn styles, and try to run you over when you’re walking in the streets. They are either staring at the program they are watching on their phone, the game that they are playing, or don’t have a clue where they are going. If your waiting at the subway terminal you will have old men and women and parents who will push you out of the way or cut in front of you to get to the only open seat on the subway. The thing that’s annoying about it is that they think it’s funny/cute to do this. Also, when you get are getting off the subway they are supposed to leave the middle unblocked for unloading passengers, but because they want to get that seat, they will pile in the middle as you’re getting off and you must push them out of the way. If I see this, I will make myself seem bigger by standing taller, pushing out my chest, and stick my arms out like I’m getting ready to lock arms with someone so that they have to go around me.  

 

Spitting

 

This is probably the one thing that I won’t ever get used to about China. I suggest you don’t ever look down when you’re out walking in China. People spit in the streets, walking in the subway terminals, in elevators, and in restaurants. The things that gets to me isn’t the actual spit but the sound they make right before they spit. Imagine you have server chest congestion and you’re trying to clear out your chest and you produce this wet flemmy sound and imagine you just did this over a microphone attached to your chest. The sound is loud and it’s wet and I’ve even heard it over the music pumping from my headphones. The sad part is that kids, men and women, old and young do this. Nothing is worse that a good-looking girl or guy doing this right in front of you or almost spitting on you. I warned you at the beginning of the to not look down because anywhere you will walk you will see spit stains or fresh spit on the ground. This is my biggest pet peeve and the thing I won’t ever get used to about China.

 

So, there you have it guys. My list of the 5 things I hate about China. These are presented in no particular order. I would say my number one is spitting. This list is just the biggest things that get to me about living in China on a daily or weekly basis. Until next time guys, remember keep it simple and be on the lookout for my next post, the 5 Things I Love about China.

 

 

 

 

Keep It Simple

2016-06-11

My 20’s were spent pleasing others, living up to other people’s expectations, and trying to stand out, be part of the trends, while not wanting people to look at me. In the last few years I’ve really had to ask myself, “Are you on the journey that you want or the journey that is expected of you?” I was starting to realize that I wasn’t living authentically. In 2016 I’m finally working towards living authentically and creating the life that I want.

One of my big Ah Ha moments came when I was watching a YouTube video titled This Might Be Why You’re Not Traveling The World. In the video the vlogger was talking about packing for a visit to the USA and realizing that she had so much STUFF, holding her back from being mobile. What happened? Did I just suddenly wake up the next morning and throwout everything in my closet and life. Ha Ha, No!

But, that vlog woke me up and made me realize that I was in the same boat (I knew that I had so much STUFF, but kept making excuses as to why I need all that STUFF). After that, I started getting rid of the STUFF in my life that was holding me back. This was at the end of 2014. The purging off STUFF accelerated when I accepted my current job in 2015 to teach in Beijing, China. Knowing that your going to move countries is a great motivational tool. I am talking about donating two 50-gallon trash bags full of clothes, about 10 pairs of shoes, knick-knacks, and various items that I told myself that I was going to use as inspiration for my art and design work. I will say that I was 75% successful in purging my STUFF before I left America. I know that with some time and distance I can return to my parents’ house and objectively get rid of the remaining 25% of STUFF. Except for my favorite books (my parent will have to live with those forever).

It’s a good thing that age, time, and experience can change our outlook on life. Heading into my 30’s I decided to go for the things in life that I have always wanted. I have wanted to travel, live abroad, create the art that I want, dress in a style that feels authentically me, and really get this blog off the ground. I have been afraid of putting the effort into my blog because that meant letting people in. The thing I have been learning is that you have to find a balance. There are just some things that are meant to be kept private.

My motto for 2016 is to Keep It Simple. That means controlling the STUFF in my life that I can control and realizing that I can’t control the actions of others. There will always be people that will talk negatively about me and doubt me. It means apologizing to the people that I have wronged and realizing that some relationships won’t ever be the same. So if I have ever said or done something intentionally or unintentionally to you, I sincerely apologize and ask for your forgiveness. Part of my STUFF purging is to get rid of cloths that I bought because I was following a trend, getting off social media/ “dating” apps, get out of debt, and cleaning up my bad habits.

Keep It Simple is an ever-evolving motto. Some STUFF will naturally fall off the list or return to the top.