Opinion / Blog

5 ways I've become a little bit more Chinese

By kellivschina ( Updated: 2015-04-27 10:11

Although there are some Chinese customs that I doubt I'll ever embrace – freeze-dried chicken feet being one of them-I've found that China has definitely been rubbing off on me since I moved here eight months ago. Here are five ways I've become a little more Chinese.

1. I like drinking hot water.

Yup, I've found I really enjoy drinking hot water not only in the morning, but throughout the day. Although my American friends might raise an eyebrow at the practice, it's actually better for the digestive system than the ice-cold beverages we usually drink in the States. I guess I haven't been here during the summer months yet, so we'll see if I still reach for the steaming water even when it's 30 degrees outside. 

2. I've embraced the Taobao lifestyle.

I never did much online shopping when I was at home in America, and when I found out that most of my students make the majority of their purchases without leaving their dorm rooms I was skeptical. But then my students hooked me up with a account and I discovered I could buy virtually anything from boots to ukuleles to imported butter, generally for less than 100 RMB. Since then, I've converted to Taobaoism and even was one of the shoppers that put money into Jack Ma's pocket on 11.11. In fact, I am currently wearing one of those amazing Taobao purchases. 

3. I'm a little bit pushier.

I learned very quickly in China that you get pushed around a lot. It doesn't matter if you were the first one in line waiting for the bus; if you're not a bit assertive you'll end up as the last one to get on. At first, I just sighed and reminded myself that patience was a virtue. That was before I tried to wait my turn to use a public bathroom. Now, I marvel at how quickly my ingrained-since-I-was-5-years-old custom of "waiting my turn in line" could get thrown out the window. Sure, I still wait, but don't cut me off. Because now I push back.

4. I'm a little more expressive.

Well, I actually don't know if that's true. I've just learned a new noise to express myself. I'm talking about the noise of surprise that Chinese people make. If you've never heard this particular expression and don't what I'm talking know, it's hard to explain. If you have heard it, you'll know exactly what I'm talking about. Every time one of my students is surprised or shocked they make this little uuuhhhhmmmm sound in the back of their throats. Long story short, I now make the noise too.

5. I'm more open when meeting people. 

Western culture dictates there are certain things you don't discuss when you first meet someone, and you definitely don't take selfies with them. When meeting someone new, I'm used to putting up a few walls that I won't take down until I get to know them a little better. In China, however, I usually don't have time to put up any walls before my new friend has already added me on WeChat, taken a picture or two, found out my age and my reasons for being in China (and possibly even my salary), and invited me to lunch. At first, it felt a little invasive. Now, it almost feels strange when they don't ask for my WeChat number.

Don't expect me to start eating my french fries with chopsticks anytime soon, but also don't be surprised if my new Chinese-found habits start creeping into other parts of my otherwise American lifestyle. House slippers, anyone?

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