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For this topic, I asked my friends for help, but I think nobody got the point of “ten things in your country”. Someone gave me the advice of talking about some events that happened in China recently, but I think people could get all of them from newspapers or Internet as China has became a hot topic around the globe. So I just picked some little details that, from my point of view, can be considered part of the “culture shock” I experienced after I came here: ten differences between Chinese and American people, SO DIFFERENT.

1. Safety. I found in America, when there are people walking on the streets, most of the cars will slow down and stop for people, no matter how slow people walk. But in China, the traffic systems are so busy that people can only cross the streets when the traffic light is green, sometimes people can be hurt even if they have the right of way.

2. Rights. As everybody knows: We cannot use Facebook and YouTube………………. So American people have more freedom!

3. Communication. I think it’s because calling people who use the same telecommunications company is free of charge, so people in America like to call friends or family instead of text. As I mentioned in the last blog, Chinese people LOVE to send messages to inform each other about everything, maybe that’s a difference in culture, how we communicate with others.

4. Food. “Sweets in South, salty in North, Spicy in East, Sour in West” is the typical summary of different taste of food in China, but it’s not exactly right. There are huge differences between the food that people eat in each of the different parts of China. Due to natural conditions, sometimes certain crops can only be grown in certain places, so you’ll find a interesting thing where people who live in the northern part of China have never even tried a fruit that is produced by the south, and people who live in the southern part of China have never eaten the vegetables grown in the northern part.

5. Laundry. Nowadays, there are still a good amount of people in China, especially the elderly, who like to wash clothes by hands. They believe that this is the only way to make the clothes extremely clean. And after that, we don’t have the dryer to make the laundry completely dry, now comes the Chinese way to dry clothes–to hang. The sunshine will dry them as while as disinfecting them. Chinese people love to use cotton a lot.

6. Cleaning. Most Chinese people are used to taking showers at night before sleep. Nowadays, office workers enjoy the refreshed feeling after a shower in the morning, so young people have changed a little bit. When winter comes, cold weather stops people from taking showers everyday, so people use plastic basins to clean. Almost every single family in China owns at least 3 or 4 big or small, red or blue, plastic basins. But here, I can’t find even just one!

7. Birthday. Since I’ve been here for more than 3 months, four TAs have celebrated their birthdays here. It feels like a big event for everybody, and the atmosphere is so good. In China, if it’s your birthday, maybe you’ll receive some messages sent from your best friends, maybe your parents will cook a dinner that is better than normal days, and maybe you’ll hear “生日快乐!(happy birthday!!)” when you come across someone who knows that day is your birthday, and that’s it. There are no well prepared celebrations and warm atmosphere, except for the wealthy people.

8. Sick. “偏方” means “folk remedy.” People use these when they think there’s no need to spend money or nothing will work for their illness. It’s cheap and sometimes can solve big problems. When I catch a cold and cough a lot, the “pear soup” can save me. Just put the pear slices and rock candy together with water, heat until boiling, cool down a little bit and drink it, better than medicine! I think it’s based on the traditional Chinese medicine.

9. Night life. Most of the Chinese people don’t want to be disturbed after a busy working day. They will just watch TV, play with kids, or just watch them do homework; it’s their own time and they treasure it.

10. Gifts. When you are visiting somebody’s home in China, the value of the gifts that you give are according to the status of the people in the home you are visiting. If it’s your boss, be careful, wrong gifts will destroy your promotion dreams. After receiving presents, they are opened after the guests are already gone, otherwise it’s not polite.

One more thing: remember to bargain with peddlers when you’re traveling in a tourist spot in China, if they want ¥100, give them ¥20.

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  1. 1 Comment(s)

  2.   By jkoomen on Dec 14, 2011 | Reply

    This is such a great post! I learned a lot. Thank you 🙂

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