So you are probably wondering by now, what are some things Maggie has discovered about China that I do not know…well I’d be happy to fill you in on some shockers that I have experienced thus far.
1. The traffic here is maddness. I just saw a guy the other day go the wrong way down the street… but remember TIC (this is China) and that’s considered normal. You do not obey crosswalks, road signs, or pretty much anything. You can go when you want, stop when you want, and own the road. The way someone will let you know they are behind, around or near you is by maddly beeping their horn. Yes that is right, beeping their horn. This happens probably 5x every second. Seriously!
2. Since I work at a child facility I get to experience the culture with children. Did you know that most Grandparents take care of their childrens children once they are born? The grandparents will retire letting their children know its okay to have a child so now they are free to take care of them. Its crazy but nice, because they are always with family.
3. Most young children below the ago of 4 or so do not wear diapers. In fact they were nothing. They were something called “split pants” where if they have to go.. they go. This was probably the hardest and most shocking thing I have noticed so far. It’s hard because they will let their children go on the street, in the subway station (pretty much anywhere!). Some children do wear diapers, and our facility now requires it (Thank God). They believe that the children will “tell them when they have to go”.. interesting.
4. Have you heard of a squat toilet? Well that’s mostly what you will see here! Along with no TP in the bathrooms (carry your own). Squat toilets are just that.. look it up. Ha!
5. If you are an American you are a tourist attraction! This one is fun because you get to meet so many really nice people. The other day a Chinese person took a picture of me while I was eating my tuna fish sandwhich… I hope the pic turned out okay 😛 (next time let me know, I’d be happy to pose for/with you).
6. There is no such thing as a line… well, for the most part anyways. Pretty much just push your way up or give the cashier your money and order and you are finished. It’s amazing how people sometimes do not obey that you have been waiting in line. But it’s part of their culture and you must do as the Chinese do then! Butt in line!
7. IMPORTANT (Jess you will appreciate and be jealous of this one) : you can buy all the friends seasons for just around $40.
8. Chinese food here is nothing like in the states, it tastes a thousand times better and is better for you.
9. Public Transportation is HUGE. I live in a “town” area still a part of Beijing but a District off of it. It takes me an hour subway ride up to visit friends in a college community, and over an hour to go to an expat (or foreigner) area. That’s just the way it is!
10. You would think i’m in the artic. With the way they dress you would literally think I’m in a cold tundra area. When I went to the Forbidden City it was around 80F.. I was wearing capris and a tshirt… the Chinese were wearing leather jackets, sweaters, pants, and closed toed shoes. I’M NOT KIDDING. So now that its around 60F or so, they are even more bundled up. I saw a lady wearing gloves, scarf and a winter jacket. If your neck is exposed they will ask you “why”? And that “you will catch cold and get sick” or “aren’t you cold?!”. They are so used to this though, that I swear they do not sweat, meanwhile I’m in my tank or tee sweating bullets! Augh, summer will be interesting..
There you have it just ten things I find interesting so far in Chinese culture that are quite different from Wisconsin/American ways.