Screw the rumours and stereotypes: Expat Life in Beijing

Written by doubleoexplorers

It has officially been 3 months and 3 days since I’ve been in China!

Time has been passing by so quickly that sometimes (most of the time) I don’t even realize I’m halfway across the world. ¬†Obviously, there has been many ups and downs (but mostly ups ūüėČ ) and many many cultural changes that initially surprised me A LOT but have now become something I am accustomed to that I barely notice it.

But what annoys me and breaks my heart a little, is of all the negative things I’ve heard my whole life¬†about China¬†from everyone¬†back home. ¬†(I was obviously also guilty of spreading rumours myself.)¬†Of course, I haven’t been everywhere in China, so I can only¬†attest¬†to what it has been like in Beijing for me.


Let me tell you this, the people I’ve come across here are as nice and friendly, and helpful as all other people would be in any other parts of the world. Of course, there are differences, just as how if one were to compare any culture with another.

These differences should be celebrated, and not looked down upon.

Okay, let me get to the point. Before I came to China, everyone has been showing me pics and videos of people literally taking a dump on the street curb. ¬†Okay no, stop. ¬†If there are people who do that sorta thing here, it is probably one in a million. ¬†I have not seen anyone older than age 3 do that. ¬†Most of the babies here don’t wear diapers. ¬†Probably cause there are no changing tables in the washrooms. ¬†Instead, they wear pants with a slit from the front to the back between their legs so parents are able to help them do their business faster and easier. ¬†And no, they do not leave their mess on the streets, they clean it right up with newspaper and whatever else is needed.
Still disgusted? ¬†THEY USE SQUATTER TOILETS HERE FOR GOODNESS SAKE. ¬†Maybe it is inconvenient to bring a baby into those sorta washrooms! ¬†Why don’t they have the toilets with a seat that we can sit on? ¬†The locals call them western toilets – aka it is not originally from their culture and the people have not (or perhaps do not want to) adapted to that change!


Hawk Hawk SPIT.

Okay, SOME people do this, not all. ¬†Women and men. ¬†This happens on the streets, sometimes inside the mall, at the pool (i cringe when I’m also in the water with them). ¬†I may be wrong, but I have noticed that it is mostly from the older generation only. ¬†I don’t know why they do this, but when my sister was here she¬†actually noticed that it is uncommon for people to blow their noses. ¬†Maybe they just hawk and suck up their snort and spit it back out instead of blow their nose (who knows!) ¬†I’m ALWAYS blowing my nose in public cause of my allergies, and sometimes I receive looks here for doing that. haha. ¬†Maybe blowing your nose is considered gross here.


Oh man. ¬†Sometimes they exist, and sometimes they don’t. ¬†When they don’t, you just gotta pull your elbows out and join the pushing and shoving. ūüėČ ¬†¬†I was really annoyed with this before, but sometimes you just gotta put a smile on a deal with it. That’s all I have to say.


Okay, yes¬†traffic¬†is crazy as heck and every time I ride my bike to work my heart is literally¬†pounding and I’m literally hoping that all the cars who decide to turn will see me before they step on the gas. But this is the case in so so so so many cities all over the world. ¬†As long as the people in the city can make it work and it is part of their way of life then you¬†just gotta deal with it.¬† I’ve fallen off my bike twice cause I ram into someone the first time and someone rammed into me the second time and oh my goodness it was painful as heck but whatever, no broken bones and I’m still alive – so it’s all good ;)!¬†¬†¬†


The locals here, whether they are from the school I work at, or just randoms on the street, or a waiter at a restaurant, or the street vendor, they are all so generous and nice. ¬†And it isn’t because I am a foreigner – cause I don’t look very foreign (haha). ¬†It’s just cause they are NICE.

Buses and subways

Some give up their seats for the elderly and those who need it on the subway and buses with way more initiative than anyone I have seen in Toronto.

Public Areas

Some hold doors and gates open for people behind them and those on scooters and bikes so they can just ride through.


They have helped pay for my lunches when I ran out of money on my cafe card (at the school cafeteria haha).


Most of all, they love showing and telling you about their culture and history because it is a large part of who they are and it is something they are proud of.







*All the pictures on this blog and in this post are original and are my own*

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