Teaching in China? Don’t Freak Out When…

Frustrated!China can be an out-of-this-world experience and many people aren’t prepared for some of things they might encounter in the Middle Kingdom. So, if you’re teaching in China, please don’t freak out when…

  • people stare
  • someone of the same gender holds your hand or asks you to dance (this is a sign of friendship)
  • you wash your clothes for the first time and your rinse water is black
  • people rummage through your grocery cart
  • people put food on your plate
  • people call you fat to your face
  • you blow your nose and your snot is black (coal is used in some cities and the air is full of smoke)
  • your water is turned off
  • you can’t flush your toilet
  • people get up close and personal (Our sense of personal space is different from theirs)
  • people jump in front of you in line or you get pushed out of the way
  • people randomly shout out, “Hallo!” and then giggle
  • cars, buses, bikes and mule carts do not wait for you to cross the street
  • you end up driving with a taxi driver who seems to have a death wish
  • your empty or near empty glass is refilled to the brim
  • someone wants to touch your hair or the hair on your arms and legs
  • someone asks you how much money you make
  • someone raises your sweater or shirt to see if you are wearing enough warm clothes
  • you are greeted at the door by family members in long underwear
  • you get on the train and realize everyone is in their long underwear
  • people smoke in the hospitals
  • you visit a doctor in the hospital and your examination room is full of strangers and other medical people
  • the doctors ask you to lie on the table, pull your shirt up, pull your pants down and give a stool sample with 20-30 people watching you (It’s OK to say no!)
  • the person in front of you spits on the ground
  • someone farts or burps in public
  • you are staying in a nice hotel and in the middle of the night, you get a phone call asking if you need anything special like a massage
  • you experience overt corruption like bribes to police officers or ticket sellers
  • you take the train and everyone uses the bottom bunks, sometimes yours, as the common sitting area
  • the stairway leading up to your apartment is filled with bicycles, trash, vegetables and other assorted pieces of junk
  • your beer is served warm
  • you walk into a clothing store and the sales girls tell you they don’t have anything in plus sizes
  • you can see the head and the eyes of the animal that was cooked for you
  • you don’t really know what you’re eating
  • people read your magazine over your shoulder on the bus/subway
  • people ask to be your best friend even though they’ve just seen you on the street for the first time
  • your water, gas, and electricity bills are glued to your front door
  • you pay more at the market then your Chinese friends
  • people smoke – EVERYWHERE
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