My last blog before leaving to China was a random babble of thoughts, one of which was a list of things I thought I would miss. Again, the obvious – Friends, Family and my beloved Bear and Cally (which I miss more than words can say). I thought now would be a good time to revisit. On the list was my coffee maker (don’t miss), salad (don’t miss because I eat it here), driving (not at all), American Chinese food (yes, but our Chinese food is good too), Facebook (sometimes miss) and hearing responses in English (YES!) .
But now that I am here for more than a month, below is the real list:
- My car when I have a bunch of stuff to bring home. But on the flip side, I am getting stronger bicep muscles. Surprisingly, I don’t miss driving at all.
- People not staring at me. I know I’m different here, but you don’t have to carelessly stare. Lately, when someone looks at me for longer than a few seconds, I say “Take a picture. It’ll last longer.” or “Didn’t your mother tell you it’s no polite to stare?” Even the ones who understand English don’t really understand, but it makes me feel better. I even got a chuckle out of a fellow white person the other day.
- English Television. On a morning following a night of a little drinking, there is nothing more that I miss that laying on the couch watching a little “Real Housewives of Orange County” marathon. The funny thing is that after 2 weeks in our apartment I did discover 3 English channels. And I know that DVD’s are so cheap, but it’s not the same.
- Michigan neighborhood wildlife. I miss birds and squirrels. The first day we moved into our apartment I looked out the window and saw a white bird. Turns out it was a piece of trash. Then walking to the Metro one night I heard a rustling in some plants and ignorantly said “Sweetie, I think it’s a squirrel or a bird.” Yeah, that would be a rat the size of my cat. We can hear the birds chirping in Yuexia Park, but that’s 7 Metro Stops away.
- Blue skies. Guangzhou is known as one of the polluted cities in the world and I would agree. We do get hazy blue sky, but it’s not like at home. And for the most part it’s overcast everyday. Don’t take your beautiful sky for granted.
- Diversity. Refer to #2. Here there are Asian’s and White people. The other day I saw the first black guy I’ve seen it weeks. I couldn’t help but stare, but then I remembered how that makes me feel, so I stopped.
- Yoga. I’m in the eastern hemisphere, the home of yoga and I’m just plain ol’ disappointed. I found an English instructor and wasn’t thrilled. Her classes are expensive and she’s just not worth it. At this point, I’m searching for a new studio. So it seems that some of my first Chinese words will be “downward dog” and “warrior one”.
- Generally speaking, things just being easier. The internet connection (which isn’t working…again), finding an apartment, knowing were to go, communicating without struggle, etc. I know it’s all part of the learning experience, but sometimes, I just want something hard to go smoothly. Some days I don’t even realize I’m in China and others (like today), I miss the ease of being back in Detroit.
But don’t get me wrong…. Contrary to the tone of most of my blogs, I love it here. City living in China is fantastic. For one, where else in the world could we afford a downtown apartment for very little month. The Metro is very inexpensive and can get you anywhere in the city for a few cents. Fabien and I aren’t sure how we’ll ever be able to tolerate the cost of living when we return to the US/Europe. Plus, having everything within walking distance (your neighborhood bar, grocery store, dry cleaners, etc.) definitely has it’s perks. And on top of that, you lose weight because you walk everywhere and because it’s so hot you don’t want to eat. Being able to plead foreign ignorance is also a pro. And lastly….Asia is were it is at. There are over a billion people here and tons of economic growth. Buildings are going up everywhere. Everyone (except me) has a job no matter how important or insignificant. The landscape, culture and cities are so incredibly interesting and (usually) beautiful. Travel is relatively cheap. I could go on and on. So, yes, of course, generally, I miss things at home. But I am soaking up the positives here and enjoying the things I will miss from here when we leave.