You know you live in China when…

Some of these are personal and more likely to be referred to as “I know I live in China when….”

You’ve seen a child use the facilities whilst outdoors in a public area, not in a secluded area with brush or forest cover.

Normal conversation includes your marital status, salary, nationality or other questions deemed private by American standards.

Haggling, and whittling down the price, even by a few mao excites you, maybe even serves as the highlight of your day.

People stare, point at you or you don’t blend into crowds.

You drink hot water, avoid fruit and cold food or beverages during “that time of the month,” eat raw garlic without giving it a second thought (ok, I guess that’s more personal as Suigetsu commented on said topic).

You don’t even give a porcelain squatting toilet or even a mere channel a second glance. 没办法 because nature calls. You make sure to arm yourself with toilet paper or tissue at the off chance you need to use the facilities.

人山人海, especially during public holidays and at tourist attractions, there are seas of people.

On a similar note, you avoid going out during public holidays because of 人山人海.

You can buy 黑人牙膏 or “Black Man Toothpaste,”a brand that features a picture of a black man with pearly whites.

Rubbernecking seems to be a pastime of many pedestrians, and isn’t limited solely to drivers as they pass by an accident.

Additions, courtesy of Sasha:

You also stare at other foreigners.

Seeing groups of men squatting, sleeping, or just hanging out on the street is completely normal. 

People walking around at all times of the day is normal. 

Going out to eat is cheap and delicious, not an expensive outing

One person pays the bill

广场舞!

You can get good produce and food at small stores, and there are at least five stores in a nearby walking radius that sell the same stuff as supermarkets. 

One street might have three of the same store type. 

You don’t need a car because stuff is nearby, or public transportation is good.

Adults go out and have fun (KTV, walking around, etc.)

Drinking baijiu or alcohol at lunchtime is fine, and drinking in public is also fine (It’s 5 p.m. somewhere, right?) 

What would you add to this list?

3 thoughts on “You know you live in China when…

  1. Sasha says:

    -you also stare at other foreigners
    -seeing groups men squatting, sleeping, or just hanging out on the street is completely normal
    -people walking around at all times of day is normal
    -vigorous old people!
    -going out to eat is cheap and delicious, not an expensive outing
    -one person pays the bill
    -广场舞!
    -you can get good produce and food at small stores, and there are at least 5 stores in a nearby walking radius that sell the same stuff as supermarkets
    -one street might have 3 of the same store type
    -you don’t need a car bc stuff is nearby, or public transportation is good.
    -adults go out and have fun (KTV, walking around, etc.)
    -drinking baijiu or alcohol at lunchtime is fine, and drinking in public is also fine
    -… and so many others!

    I go home next Monday, 7/7. Reverse culture shock will be interesting for us!

  2. Suigetsu says:

    Just FYI, the “Darlie” toothpaste that you refer to was actually created by a British company. It was originally called “Darkie” until Colgate acquired the firm and changed the name to “Darlie” to make it somewhat more politically correct.

    The toothpaste is also available in Taiwan, Hong Kong, and other parts of Asia, and the reason that Asians don’t find it offensive is because they’re not burdened by the history of racism against black people the way white Europeans are (slavery, mass murder, etc.). But even so, I think the manufacturer should just change the name and get rid of that ridiculous image of the black man completely because in the globalised world we now live in words and expressions don’t just find meaning in localised contexts.

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