"Wish You Happy Every Day": An Expat's Life in China


Culture shock?
November 2, 2010, 1:08 pm
Filed under: the expat life | Tags:

It is not fun being sick in the U.S. It is equally not fun being sick in China. In the land of tea, there’s no one here to make me any! 😦

It’s no wonder I’ve been sick – I now work 30 hours a week instead of 18, travel a lot through bacteria-ridden roads and WCs without the aid of soap (at school, anyway), and I’ve been putting way too much pressure on myself in general. Finally, I had to take a few days off. So then, laying on my bed and watching Julie and Julia for the zillionth time, I realized a few things (aside from the fact that I really need to learn how to cook).

For the past few weeks, I have wondered if I am suffering from culture shock. I always carry around a lingering homesickness, though to be honest, I tend to be homesick even when I’m home. Living daily life in China seems harder – I have responsibilities to my students, bills to pay; I have to manage my budget; I have to manage my time carefully and carve out opportunities for relaxation, particularly in the evenings. I have to accept the fact that there is no one here to bail me out. I am also beginning to realize that employers don’t care about their employees as much as they do about their profits, and that other people in the world will try to swindle you in other, more subtle ways.

So anyway, I was watching Julie yelling and crying on the kitchen floor next to a stuffed chicken, and then I realized: this isn’t culture shock. This is being an adult in the real world shock.

O, for the days of the bill-free life of Mount Holyoke College: visiting my friends down the hall, eating warm meals downstairs, studying in the library, measuring my nights in coffee pots, freaking out over my thesis, curling up in my warm down comforter on the bed which I really didn’t get a chance to sleep in enough. Yeah, I think I’ll take China.

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