A recent ChinesePod podcast got me wondering: how many foreigners really learn all the forms of address for family members? I’m not ashamed to admit that I never did. Not only do you have separate words for whether they’re on your mom’s side or your dad’s side, related by blood or by marriage, older or younger than your parent, but there are also issues of formal vs. informal and regional variation. I think most of us give up on learning …
You may have heard foreigners complaining about sanitation in China once or twice. It happens. What those foreigners don’t know is that behind their backs, the Chinese are also talking about westerners’ dirty habits. Dirty bedroom habits.
Now, before I lead your imagination even further into the gutter, let me elucidate: it’s about showering and sleeping.
I believe it was in college sometime that I started showering in the morning. I considered myself …
The whole Shanghai vs. Beijing debate is somewhat tired, I know, so I’m not interested in rehashing it. I’m not going to bash or gush over either city. Rather, I’ve had sort of a change of heart about Beijing, and I’d like to tell why. To be honest, the more time I spend in Beijing, the more I like it. But I doubt I’d ever voluntarily relocate to Beijing.
Still, if I found myself in any of the following scenarios, …
After eating all Chinese food for about a week, my family was delighted to stop into Starbucks in Hangzhou. (Funny how a familiar corporate logo can engender feelings of fondness.) We had the following conversation:
Me: You don’t need to gather up the trash. They’ll clear the table when we leave.
Mom: But the trash can is just right there.
Me: Still, you don’t need to do it. It’s their job. You don’t want to take away their job, do
I had off for the May holiday today, so I got to sleep in. After lunch I went for a stroll in Zhongshan Park.
Outside the park there were vendors selling pets. The main ones were rabbits, dwarf hamsters, chicks, and ducklings.
The park was crowded, but the weather was great. Some people (like me) were there just to walk around.
Others were boating.
Some were flying kites.
Some children were getting pictures taken in front of giant cartoon characters. …
I am well known for being positive and upbeat about life in China, but sometimes I just have to vent a little. This one is a special case, because when I first arrived in China I was thrilled to be celebrating the real Chinese New Year, with real Chinese people, the authentic way. With each passing year my enthusiasm has faded just a bit more, until it became this colorless loathing for the alpha holiday of the Chinese calendar.…
Last Sunday I bought a new computer. I’m about to move into my new place, and I suppose I’m still in the throes of consumerist passion. It just seemed like a good time to plunk down a neat stack of cash to buy the system I’ve been wanting for a while. I haven’t had a new computer since 2002, when I bought one in Hangzhou with Wilson. It was time.
Then this week I learn from a blog post that …
Today while grocery shopping at Carrefour I discovered a rather extensive collection of non-pirated DVDs. It was really kind of shocking. I’m not talking about just Roman Holiday or Charlie Chaplin or whatever; I’m talking about movies that were in theatres in the States in the past year. Most were priced at about 20 RMB. While that’s still close to triple the pirated price tag, it’s moving into the affordable range. With DVDs priced at 20 RMB, many Shanghai …
I haven’t mentioned my “girlfriend” in a long time. This is not only because I don’t like to talk about certain aspects of my private life here; it’s also because I’m not sure what to call her anymore. This is all due to the peculiar features of getting married in China.
You see, we are already legally married, but we have not yet had a “proper wedding.” To her and her family, that means a proper Chinese wedding banquet. To …