China life is interesting, exciting, and most of all, challenging. And even though a lot of it has been difficult due to the major culture barrier, I can say that there are plenty of things that things so much easier. Here are the top eight things I’ll miss the most about China life.
I love my scooter, and to this day, I can’t believe it took me six months after moving here to give in and purchase one. They’re not that expensive, and actually, in the end, it’s cheaper! I no longer had to rely on taxis. But with that said, it definitely made me lazier. I did a lot of walking those first six months when I didn’t want to go through the process of explaining my destination to the taxi driver. I don’t do as much walking anymore, unfortunately.
Closeness of Everything
This is probably more of a general thing for any gigantic city in the world. Everything I ever need is just within a fifteen-minute scooter ride. Back in Kentucky, we lived on property outside of the small town. It took about 25 minutes to get the school, restaurants, and stores. That was hard to adjust to again during my first time back for Christmas.
Not Being Understood
Weird, right? This will also be one of the things I don’t miss about China life. Sometimes, not being understood is an awesome thing. You and your friends/family can practically talk about anything, no matter how awkward of a conversation it is. I also find myself complaining quietly during frustrating situations, like being shoved by a million people to get into the subway. Or when somebody is cutting me in line at a restaurant. I’d rather people not understand. I wonder if this habit will stay with me once I get back to where everybody speaks English?
Really, this should be cheap everything! China life means being able to live off of very little money. The cost of living is unbelievably low here, especially when compared to Western countries like America and Japan.
Elema is a food delivery app popular in China. And when I say everything in China delivers, I mean everything. Like the electric scooter, Elema has made me lazier. I never have to leave the house for food, and it’s cheap. Delivery fees are practically nonexistent, and in the end, it’s the same price and sometimes even cheaper to deliver than cook at home yourself. Now whether or not it’s healthier is questionable.
WeChat is the app everybody in China uses to communicate. On it, you can text, make voice calls, and make video calls. All you need is data, which is cheap and paid as you go, not monthly. You also pay one fee for everything, unlike America where you have to pay for data, messaging, and calls separately. But WeChat is a lot more than a communication app. You post updates, pictures, and videos as you do on Facebook or Twitter. You can use WeChat Wallet to pay for anything. You can even buy movie tickets, buy flights, pay your utility bills, and even top up your mobile data.
Cheap and Assessable Travel
Getting anywhere in China is extremely easy. There are tons of airlines and trains to choose from. And the price, as with most things here, is extremely low. There’s an extensive high-speed railway system that pretty much connects all of the major cities. It’s a lot cheaper than flying, even cheaper than most budget airlines. It may take a little longer too. But it’s more scenic, it’s cleaner, there’s a lot more room, and overall, it’s just more comfortable than an Economy flight seat. There are also normal trains that go a lot slower, and they are even cheaper! The downside is that they can take 10+ hours, depending on your route. They have soft and hard sleeper beds that help, and personally, I think everybody should try one out at least once. But out of all other modes of travel, it’s the least comfortable. You can book these on Ctrip while in China.
The most I’ve paid for a high-speed train was around $50 one way. A soft sleeper cost me $20 one way. I’ve also paid $75 for a one-way flight with, believe it or not, Okay Airways. As you can tell from the title, it’s a budget airline. And it wasn’t any different from other planes I’ve been on really. The name of it, however, does make you feel a bit … skeptical.
The People I’ve Met
I’ve made a lot of friends here. Most of them are from China, of course, but the other teachers are from all around the world. I’ve worked with these people and hung out with them outside of work hours for almost a year. The Chinese staff helped me understand more about China’s culture, and they helped me learn a little Chinese so that China life was easier. I would love to come back soon, but the truth is, it could be many more years before I can make it back. I will definitely be staying in contact. A lot of people back home won’t be able to relate or understand what it has been like living in China. But these people I’ve met here can. They’ll definitely get messages from me starting out with, “remember that time in China when …”
If you plan on giving the China life a try for yourself, keep these in mind and take advantage of them! Some of them, like Wechat and Elema, doesn’t exist or just aren’t popular outside of China.
Are you currently living in China or have in the past? What will/do you miss?