Why I’m still in China… ;)

Written by doubleoexplorers

No one really knows this, but one of the reasons that drew me to China originally is so I can see and learn what the Chinese culture is like, first-handed.

There’s bound to be stereotypes that society places on every culture and ethnicity in the world.  The difference is whether they are mostly negative, neutral, or positive ideas.  Perhaps it is part of my personality where I always want to be different, so being part of a race that is everywhere in the world does not really make me unique.  Or maybe it’s the disconnect I feel when others describe what the culture, language and habits of people are like in Hong Kong and China since I grew up in a different environment.  Or even the stares I get when I am part of the minority race in some towns in my own country, a country that is know for it’s multiculturalism.  Whatever it is, all my life I have felt a negative tone to myself being Chinese.

I was born in Hong Kong but grew up in Canada so before working in mainland China, I only knew what Hong Kong is like, but sadly it would mostly be from a tourist’s point of view.  But actually, it isn’t so simple.  If you know about the history between K Hong ong and mainland China, you’ll know it is way complicated.  So basically I knew nothing about mainland China.  Nothing of what the cities are like, what the people are like, how things are run, what people eat.  Every single judgement I had of mainland China was from everything I saw and read on the internet.  And it really wasn’t that positive.  

So when I first got my job offer in Beijing back in 2014, I was excited about my job and the new adventure ahead, but I was also very curious to see what the Chinese culture is like.  I wanted to see if the stereotypes are as true as people say they are.  I wanted to know what was so terrible about the people who share the same race as me and the country that my entire ancestral family line is from.     

Just like travelling to any country, it took me some time to get used to how things work and what the culture is like (aka experiencing culture shock).  Actually, it took me a whole year to feel I can fully do the things I need to do without feeling inadequate.  Practicing the language definitely helped me integrate myself a bit more into the society.  

After two years in Beijing (and currently on my way back for my third), one conclusion I am happy to make based on what I experienced and saw in China (mostly Beijing) that may seem really simple, but it took me a long time to see and understand, is that the people are just like anyone else in any other country in the world.  There are those who enjoy watching tv, those who love outdoor activities, those who speak up, those who work long hours, those who see it a priority to travel and develop themselves  etc.  Of course culture and society plays a big influence on the values and habits of people, but what I’m trying to say is that there are always good, kind people as well as ones whom you would want to avoid in every country.  

Of course there have been taxi drivers who have tried to scam me, people who have passed on fake 100RMB bills, people who honk the shit outta their horns even when I leave enough room for their little scooter to pass by, people who run ahead and cut me in line, people who just stare as i’m pushing the biggest suitcase and carrying several other bags down the street and everything keeps falling, housing agents who lied and told me the landlord wants to renovate the place I’m renting when it is actually up for rent and other shitty things like that.  But a taxi driver once waved the fare because I did’t have cash and was only able to pay with wechat thinking every single person in Beijing would have a cell phone with wechat.  I asked him to drive me to the bank first to get money but he said it was fine.  Someone making such a small wage daily was able to just wave it off just like that.  And I can’t even think about all the times when I miscounted my change or misunderstood them when they said the price for something and they would tell me to come back so they could give me back my money.  They could’ve easily just pretended they didn’t know.  Oh, and how they say ‘excuse me’ (借过 jiè ɡuò) when they want to get by but of course it would be in Chinese so that most of the time us foreigners would just think they are being loud and yelling as they walk.  And I never drop things without realizing, but it has happened three times last year and every single time someone would yell and say something in Chinese to get my attention and thank goodness I actually bothered to look to see why they are yelling or else I would have lost my subway card, my mitts and my phone.  Just imagine all the misunderstandings due to the lack of comprehension from not speaking the same language.  

I can go on forever about how people have helped me during my first two years in China.  The locals I have encountered and those whom I have became friends with are just like everyone else in your own country.  They have their good days and bad days, weird habits and quirks, opinions and emotions.  

Canada will always be my home, but I have learned so much about the history and about the current situation for those living in China.       

This was on the wall of a Korean resto in toronto 😀
I honestly love it so much cause it’s so true!

It is so easy to believe the things we hear when the majority of people are saying it is true.  Negative news spreads a lot faster when people only have the time to post their complaints on social media while  overlooking and under appreciating all the other kind things that people may have done for them that very day.  So before you believe and spread things from information you received from a secondary source, make sure you go check it out yourself first.  

– written at 10058 m above sea level 😉

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