Likes/Dislikes/Most Missed!

The promised and much-anticipated likes/dislikes/most missed follow-up entry.
It took longer to write than expected because I feel I can classify every day here in China as either a “love China” or a “hate China” day. While I give the benefit of the doubt in that if it is not overly abundant that it is a “hate China” day, I will classify it as a “love China” one, I can’t lie that there is still a fair share of each. I have long overcome my initial culture shock, but some things I fear I will not get used to in the four month time frame of this stay. Some things are just personal preference, like missing dairy, and others are inherently cultural, like my uncorrectable disgust at spitting.
What had to happen for this list to come into existence was a week of notes of what exactly it was that was causing me to love or hate China, instead of the broad only-internally definable sentiment. While I often joke on my hate China days that I may never leave the United States again, what I can say about this time is that it has opened my eyes to so many experiences of human existence that without which I would have remained forever ignorant. With that in mind, and in no particular order, we commence:

Likes:
Being finally able to distinguish some dialects of Mandarin
New subway line that comes right to Beida
“Celebrity” status – not a day goes by that I am not photographed by gawking strangers, stared at, or followed.
Internship – those who know me know that a well-placed semicolon may give me goosebumps, working as the copy editor at an international policy journal is pretty much perfect. Image design is fun too.
Street food – elusive but delicious, the various carts on the street selling anything from kabobs to Chinese pancakes are always a cheap culinary adventure. The only problem is that they are mobile, so you can’t ever count on them being there.
Being able to hold slangy English conversations about people in front of them – bratty but true, it is a little fun to know people don’t understand you 9/10s of the time.
Temples – repetitive but impressive. I love the small of incense and the giant golden Buddhas.
Cheap things – I am on a strict weekly budget that never be accomplished in the United States
Youku – the Chinese version of youtube, which is of course blocked. Youku may be even better though, since it is full of entire movies and TV series.
So many things to do/see all in Beijing – ensuring I’m never bored and never run out of things to experience.
Pass/fail status – thank you, thank you DU
Envisioning the perils of a zombie infestation in Beijing – perhaps more on this in a separate post, but I can tell you it would be bad.
Apparently endless unnecessary occupations – rain water sweepers, door openers, etc. It’s a little ridiculous, but at least they’re employed.
Not busing own tray – an extension of the previous entry, every restaurant/cafeteria is staffed with enough waitresses that you are actually supposed to leave your tray and they pick it up for you and dump it, even at McDs.
Classes – they are good for the most part. Sino-American Relations is my favorite, naturally, but they are all interesting. My Chinese professor is fantastic, also picked “Robust” as his English name, I believe thinking it was the long version of Rob, which makes him inherently awesome.

Dislikes:
Socialized medicine – we’ve already been over this
Beijing dialect murmuring – lots of r’s, very difficult to make out
Wind – yeah. lots of wind.
Spitting – mostly because they have to hack loudly, every time. disgusting. absolutely disgusting.
Guanxi, or lack thereof – if you’re not in someone’s social network, then they don’t care if you exist. only moderately exaggerating.
Stalkers – I’m absolutely tired of being followed for nothing more than being blonde.
Inefficiency of so many different cards, IDs, etc – every single thing has it’s own card: meals, transportation, school, laundry, IDs…
Inefficiency of buying things – you think you would just take your stuff to the cashier and pay, but no. Much like my clinic experience, you have to tell someone what you want, they write you a ticket, you go to the cashier and pay, they give you a ticket, you go to someone else and they give you your items, then you show your items and ticket to one more person before you leave to prove you just went through this ordeal and paid.
Tooooo many people – enough said.
People assuming i am speaking English when I’m not, no effort to understand me – no matter how hard I try, everyone assumes that white girl can’t speak Chinese.
Blocked internet – wahhh I miss facebook
Lack of whole wheat – it’s true, only refined white carbs dwell here. I long for a good slice of seven grain whole wheat bread.
Difficult classes – they’re not too bad, but it is so much new information for me! I’m not used to doing so poorly in classes. Thank god for pass/fail or I’d never even see Beijing!
Taxi drivers – they get lost, overcharge, act like they have no idea what you’re saying etc. Some are nice, but the majority gives me a nasty headache.
Feeling like godzilla – it is so hard to feel feminine in a country where you are at least 40 lbs heavier and a head taller than any other female.
Horns horns horns – drivers here believe their car horns are magic, and if you honk long enough and loud enough at anything it will move out of your way. Also, if you go more than five minutes without using it, your magical car horn will disappear.
Pollution – again, enough said.
Post office – the absolute most frustrating place here so far.

Most Missed:
Dairy
American food
Gym
Mountains
Coffee
English speakers
My car
Sink disposals
Clothes dryers

Ok, obviously that is not the entirety of my thoughts, but that’s a weeks worth of effort. I will make another list closer to the end of the term, after I have been here three months or so.
For the record, today was a “love China” day.

P.S. I was able to check my views counter today and saw that on average my blog gets around 40-50 views a post! It’s great to know so many people care about what I and my friends are up to here, or at least so does one very dedicated person who comes back 40-50 times. Either way, thank you for validating my blogging efforts, follower(s). 🙂

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4 Responses to “Likes/Dislikes/Most Missed!”

  1. Great List! I was at a conference this weekend with girls half my height too! UGH!!! Felt like an amazon! lol

    When you get back you can dry all the clothes you want…I’ll even save mine for you. 😉 I may even buy you a coffee or two too.

    Miss and love you tons!
    ~Big Sis

  2. Texas Auntie Says:

    Enjoyed the lists! America seems to be the land of the clothes dryer…they are rare in Europe too. Your cousin Andy (Jake) thinks the Euro clothes dryers are just an illusion since the clothes come out just as wet as when you put them in. Spitting…Yuk! And WHERE do they spit? Watch your step, please! Glad you are feeling better. Enjoyed seeing all the pictures. Study hard, see the sights, and keep blogging! Love, Texas Auntie P.S. Any big bash planned for upcoming birthday?

  3. Sounds like you are starting to fit in to your new life! Can’t wait to hear your list at three months, and yes I believe the spitting and hacking would really gross you out! I am glad that you have good China days and do hope that there are more of them than the bad.

    Are you waiting until American Halloween to tell us the zombie infestation story? Did you mean Diary that you miss or Dairy? 🙂

    Wanted to ask if you knew Yan De Yang, owner of the Chopsticks & Sushi restaurant, 1630 Welton St. He has been arrested on suspicion of murder after a fatal shooting Thursday in his restaurant. Since you are a fan of sushi I wondered if you knew him or his restaurant?

    Careful about assuming that people don’t understand you, remember the story of Uda and the diamond ring?

    Love ya!

  4. Aunt Cecelia Says:

    Your lists are very interesting! We have so many things and much to be thankful for here in this country. Many people take it for granted. We are looking forward to Thanksgiving. Will many of you from the States get together to celebrate? Study hard and enjoy the differences! Love, Aunt Cecelia

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