Opinion / Blog

First thoughts of a Georgia girl in China

By besomething ( Updated: 2015-05-11 11:10

I have been in China for two months now. I know nothing, so I am told. I have a "China crush" is another one I am told. I don't know what expats who have been here for years or even six months know.  What do I, a girl from Georgia, know that is so important to write about? I know that being in China is nothing like I thought it would be. I imagined working hard, exploring China, learning a new language, and all those things one thinks when one decides to teach students on the other side of the world.

So what has China brought me? A lot of partying, although not so much with the Chinese as with other expats. The Chinese I do talk to are often more interested in hooking up than imparting any wisdom. A lot of men offer to "teach me Chinese" but really mean, "Let's hook up sometime." The parties and flirtations don't tell the story though. They are secondary to learning about a beautiful, strange culture that sometimes is like my own, but other times wonderful and exciting. The nightlife with the expats has expanded my world view also, as the expats are from all over the world, and just as unique to my sheltered existence.

China has charmed me. Maybe it is a "crush" as the longer term expats claim, but in that case, I am enjoying my puppy love. I climbed a small mountain, and found a Heaven where I could hear an old man playing traditional Chinese music on his flute while I read Chinese history books on the top of the mountain. I found Daming Lake, a haven of beauty in a crowded city, where I can run in the clean air created by the flowers. I found food street (I can only attempt "Furongi?"), where wonderful older men and women cook for me at 3 am with no judgment.  

I discovered Chinese people, even strangers, helping me out even when it meant a lot of extra work for them. A woman at the bus stop half my size helped me carry my bags and called my contacts for me and even waited until they arrived. There are restaurant owners who tell me the meal is on them, and sweet Chinese women who hand the cab driver cash for my ride, or others who just go out of the way to make sure I get home safe. 

The longer I am here, the less threatening this world is. My 30-40 word Chinese vocabulary no longer inhibits my life here since I have learned the generosity of the Chinese, and of course the tricks of expats with no Chinese skills. Whether I am exploring the crazy nightlife, beautiful mountains and lakes, or learning culture from the Chinese people, I am enjoying being here more than I ever thought I would.  

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