Things I won’t miss in China

This is the first installment of a two-part post on the things I won’t miss and the things I will miss after I leave China.  Some are a bit amusing to me albeit annoying, others are far weightier.  Here they are, in no particular order:

    1. My leaky kitchen sink that floods the kitchen every time I wash dishes
    2. My nightly mosquito search and destroy missions before bed
    3. The heavy duty industrial Shijiazhuang dust that is everywhere
    4. Floors that are impossible to clean
    5. People who look at my feet
    6. People who stare at my grocery basket to see what foreigners buy
    7. Flip-flops being disdainfully referred to as “Japanese-style slippers”
    8. Awkward teacher-training meetings
    9. The absence of cheese
    10. Relying on public transportation
    11. Teaching untouchable wealthy children who don’t experience much discipline
    12. Teaching children who make so much noise that the responsible, attentive children in the class can’t hear and participate above the noise
    13. The adjective “interesting”
    14. Taxi drivers who tell you to get out and catch a taxi across the street if they’re not already going the same direction as your destination `
    15. Living one door down the hall from my boss’s office
    16. Waking up on weekdays and some weekends to the sound of students and school employees in the hallway outside my apartment
    17. Not being able to see the sky most days because of the pollution
    18. The assumption that I don’t know grammar because I teach oral English
    19. The CCTV cameras that watch me enter and leave my apartment and apartment building
    20. Cooking on a stove that takes many brave and dangerous clicks of a lighter to get lit properly
    21. Drivers who speed on the wrong side of the road to get in front of cars stopped at traffic lights
    22. People who push onto elevators instead of letting you get off first
    23. People who cut in line
    24. Employees with microphones who shout the prices and sale items at you as you walk by a store display
    25. The ER
    26. Keeping my blinds closed so that the high school students can’t see into my apartment from across the courtyard
    27. Shoe prints in inexplicable places on my apartment walls
    28. Students who shout “hello teacher!” at me in Chinese, and then immediately shout “she doesn’t understand that!” in Chinese…  I understood that since two years ago.
    29. Being told that a 7th grader is too young to know right from wrong
    30. Working on the weekend to make up for getting a few days off for a holiday during the week
    31. Rampant xenophobia
    32. Running out of my arsenal of Chinese phrases right after a local tells me my Chinese is good
    33. Kids peeing in grocery stores, parks, on sidewalks, and pretty much any place else that’s not a toilet
    34. People who appear to show hospitality but who really just want free English lessons
    35. Feeling conspicuous every time I step out my door

The next (and not so depressing) list will be posted shortly, so stay tuned!  I wanted to save the best things I want to remember for last.


About Laura

An English teacher in China. View all posts by Laura

8 responses to “Things I won’t miss in China

  • dustinandlauren

    Laura–I can identify with so many of these! I forgot about those little booger mosquitos that like to buzz right by your ear when you’re trying to fall asleep and then eat your face off while you’re sleeping. : / Oh dear…I’m going to have to face those soon. Maybe I should buy one of those electric zapping contraptions they’re selling in the stores now haha.

    • Laura

      I know! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve slapped myself in the face as I’m falling asleep to them humming in my ears, haha. A zapper would come in handy!

  • Luke

    Well. You certainly won’t miss China. I imagine the other list won’t be quite as long.

  • travelisfree

    I enjoyed this post and after only one month in China I can truly sympathize with many. So many of these I thought, “so very true”.
    1, 4, 9, & 10 (this one I actually enjoy (well I enjoy the price)) are Asia to some degree.
    BUT 6, 14 (WHAT!!!), 17, 22, 23, 34 & 35 are just SOOO China. Blessed are you…

    I met a guy in the Tokyo airport who traveled in china for 6 years and he told a story about his flight exiting china and the intensely questioned him over his duffel bag. “Is this a diplomatic duffel bag?” (I imagine you subtract the “L” sounds). “No! No it’s not!” He would argue but not knowing why.

    We finally asked why he left China and he said intensely, “It’s not a diplomatic duffelbag! That’s why.” You… I… We know what he means…

    • Laura

      Haha, I am glad that you could identify with some of these things that are just so China…it’s a kind of thing where anyone who has traveled there knows exactly what level of frustration and amusement and disbelief can be summoned within you simultaneously.

      That duffel bag story is ridiculous! Poor man and his non-diplomatic duffel bag. And I agree, sometimes I just really loved the public transportation and how cheap it was, but when it was rush hour and I could only wait by the side of the road for an hour before managing to hop on a bus or taxi, that’s when I started hating it. But I guess it can always be much worse than that, no?

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