China and Me

It has been more than 3 years now that I’ve been living in China and I’ve realized I’ve never told you much about it. I mean I’ve never really showed you what China is for me, if I like it here or I hate it here, or how people behave or look like.

Since my English is not THAT great, I’ve decided to use some of the pics I’ve collected over my stay in China to tell you something about this country and my relationship with it. These are pictures were taken with my Iphone while walking back home from work, or on my way to a friend’s house or at the supermarket while I was grocery shopping; these are pictures that show aspects of China that shock me, make me laugh or make me fall in love with this country.

Well, I wanna start by saying that living here, in a country so big, so over populated, and so different from home is not easy business and getting used to it hasn’t been fast ether. However over these 3 years I think I’ve found my place here, my balance and my routine. I’ve learned how to  get along with the locals and local habits.

Everyday there is a new thing to learn  of the language or of the culture, sometimes pleasant sometimes not and all this is fun, it’s challenging!

There is one thing, however, which I haven’t gotten used to yet, and maybe I never will, it is the way the Chinese addresses to us (non Chinese) as FOREIGNERS, they do not differentiate between French, British, Russians, Japanese, Americans, Italians, for them we are all one single group: the 老外, foreigners.

Even at the International Airport of Shanghai, to clear customs there are 2 lines: Chinese Nationals one and the Foreigners

Where everywhere else in the world ppl visiting are welcomed as Visitors, here in the Chinese Republic of China we are all, and will always be stranger, unwelcomed foreigners! Which, I’ll be honest with you, pisses me off like hell!

But on the other side, there is the funny part!

I think Chinese have this idea of Asia as one part of the world and THE WEST, as the other part of it, where in the west we not only find Europe, Canada, USA, South America, Africa, but we also find India or all the other middle Eastern countries. For some unexplainable reason we are all one big group. This is immediately noticeable, still at the Shanghai International Airport where there are 3 main food corners:

The Asia Zone,

The Coffee Zone,

The Western Zone

It’s like when you fly Air China (which I always do, and at the end of the day I even enjoy) and the flight assistant comes up to you with breakfast and asks you: “Do you want Chinese breakfast or Western breakfast?“, which is just a polite way of saying “Do you want the Chinese breakfast of the Laowai breakfast?”, and where for Western breakfast they mean eggs and sausage which is maybe what in most ‘western’ countries people eat in the morning, but there are also a few where eggs, bacon and sausages is more a dinner thing than a breakfast thing. Like for example in Italy (where I come from) breakfast means coffee, milk, maybe cappuccino, yogurt, some cookies and toasts.

Besides this little laiwai issue I’ve got with China, for the most part this country intrigues me.

I mean, I love how even in downtown Shanghai you can easily find a dude with a hen selling fresh eggs

Or you can go to the wet market and, well, get a nice, fat, alive frog for dinner

I also find incredible the variety of food that this city offers: Italian restaurants, French Bistro, American Deli, Indian spices,

delicious street food

and also, if you feel like, you can go to this little Chinese restaurant in Gubei, Shanghai, and order…..a turtle…

But definitely something I look up on Chinese people is their ability of falling asleep anywhere, there isn’t really a place where they are not able to sleep.

Most of my coworkers after lunch, bend over their desk and take a 15-20 min nap, then they wake up, rub their eyes and start working.

I wish I was able to do that too!

One little thing Chinese really need to work on, tho, is their English. I mean most young kids can speak a pretty good conversational English, most international restaurants have English speaking personnel but, somehow where you would expect professional English you stumble across weird t-shirts

I know what a cool I’ve been but if you kiss me now
(
the girl wearing this t-shirt was standing in front of me in the train)

or on a train in the subway here in Shanghai you can read

Take care of the gap

or at the French supermarket Carrefour

Take care of the Steps

LOL

I LOVE this country, I really do. You literally cannot get bored here, wherever you look there is something that will put a smile on your face.

I’ll see you tmrw with a tasty brownie recipe…

if my blog doesn’t get blocked … :S

Love

– Dani

About the author:

An Italian living in China with a strong passion for cooking! Browse my 'left-overs' session for many tasty grub!. Follow her on Twitter / Facebook.