Skip to main content

10 Things China made me love about America


These things may not make the thanksgiving list of the average American, but they are definitely on my lips every time I come home for a visit.  The things I comment on missing seem to be strange to my friends and family, who then roll their eyes at yet another story beginning with, "where I live in China..."
Nevertheless here are some simple joys my life in China has made me love in my homeland.

1.  Hot sink water
Washing your hands in cold water during the winter makes the surprise of warm tap water all the more delightful. This comfort would be seen as a wasteful luxury in China where most homes have only one water heater for the shower and even that is only turned on 10 minutes before you hop in the shower, and then switched off immediately after.

2.  Outside air

I have noticed the difference in air quality moving around the US between city and country, but even the big city air seems glorious compared to China. Not to say that all of China has the pollution problems of Beijing but I have been places that require a mask to walk outside. In south east China the air is a sticky mix of humidity and construction dust. I always admire the blue skies and smooth air when I travel around the US.

3.  Single family homes

Americans have neighbors, some noisy or annoying but my apartment in China has 20 sets of neighbors on top of me with 10 apartments on each floor. Suddenly the dog barking in the house up the street doesn't seem so bad. 

4.  Organized lines

I went shopping with my mom at a department store and after a few minutes waiting at the checkout line she shouted out to ask if the staff could open another register. I was perfectly calm thinking wow! No one is pushing or touching me, there is one line with no need to merge or elbow in at the bottle neck, people are standing still and quietly. It was weird but nice.

5.  Cheese

Whenever someone asks what I miss about America I always answer, "cheese! You know other than my mom and all."

6.  Enforceable laws such as no littering

There is still litter along the highways but if you are caught there are also large fines. In China it seems many of these minor laws are not enforceable. There are many levels of police and civil servants around but many either turn a blind eye or don't have the authority to enforce the law. Seems most of the uniformed guards I see are purely ornamental.

7.  Driving even in traffic 

Between buses and metro I really don't have them need for a car in Chinese Cities. Getting back home and behind the wheel I revel in the freedom driving your own car provides.


8.  Bath tub

I’ve had a bath tub in one of my Chinese dorms before, but even after bleaching I it was still too dirty to use. Oh, and it was broken after the Chinese chabuduo repair, but that’s another story.  There is nothing like soaking in a hot tub after a long day of eating cheese and driving through traffic in the glorious American fresh air!

9.  Dry bathroom floor

Along with the lack of tubs, the typical Chinese apartment has a shower head in the bathroom without a sectioned off shower area. Small bathrooms often have you showering over the toilet, sounds rough but you get used to it. The part that I have trouble with is the bathroom floor gets soaked and stays soaked for a while in the humid air. Walking into a bathroom without fear of slipping on the wet title; another simple joy of American life!

10.              Napkins and tissues, instead of toilet paper

I will never forget the disgust I felt the first time I ate with a Chinese family and they slapped a roll of toilet paper down on the dinner table. In China tissues napkins and toilet paper are all seen as just paper with no distinction of use. I don’t think much of wiping my mouth with toilet paper anymore, but have a napkin at my table setting always reminds me I’m home!

I’m sure I am not the only one that finds simple things suddenly glorious after traveling abroad. Can you relate to these or did I miss any?
 Let me know in the Comments below

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Disadvantages to Privilege

Now that I am a mother of a half American half Chinese baby I often wonder how the world will view her.Will her diverse background be a benefit or obstacle for her?As a white female living as a foreigner in China, I imagine Chinese will treat her much like they have treated me. As a foreigner my pale skin and light hair are seen as beautiful, along with my high status as an American I often receive special treatment. I have been invited to banquets and fancy business parties, regardless of my position in the company. I have been referred to as the “foreign friend” at weddings and given a seat of honor or asked to speak or sing, although I may not even know the bride or groom. Strangers continually ask to take their picture with me or their children.
My English level is seen as superior based not on my education or background but rather from my skin color. As the foreign teacher in public schools, senior local teacher will ask me for advice in how to teach or correct a grammar point.…

Make yourself at home, but don't touch anything

Not long ago I got this text from my husband, "My sister called, she's at our house. My dad let her in." I was automatically filled with questions;

Did you know she was coming?
How long is she staying?
Did she bring the kids?
Is everything ok?


His answer, "I didn't know and I don't know." As if that would satisfy my unrest!


Now I like my sister in law, Meimei, she is probably my favorite of the in laws. She makes an effort to speak to me directly even though my Chinese is not good enough to keep up with the group conversation. She is kind and playful. Her 2 children are sweet to me and mostly well behaved. I enjoy her visits but cannot understand why she would show up unannounced when it takes at least 4 hours to travel here! And she is a repeat offender.
The most intrusive occasion was when my daughter was less than a month old and Meimei called from the bus, announcing she and her 2 small children were on the way. I was struggling with post-partum as well…