Doing the unexpected

We have a growing list of things we do in China that we never expected to do. (In the US or ever, frankly.) I’d like to share some of that list with you here because we are being culturally stretched in ways we never imagined.

I/We never expected to…

  • vacuum our bed linens (there is so much lint/dust everywhere here!)
  • worry about people finding our address (even though we provide it in English and Chinese, this is still a problem)
  • wear masks outdoors (almost every day in winter)
  • haggle over established prices of goods and services (if you don’t do this, you will pay too much because you are a foreigner)
  • need to tell our neighbors about their laundry on our windowsill (it fell, presumably while they were drying it, and we can’t reach it, but there it is… hanging out on our windowsill)
  • explain what a dishwashing machine is and does
  • struggle to find dishwashing machine detergent (note: I’m saying “dishwashing machine” and not “dishwasher” because if you say “dishwasher” here, they just point to you… you are the dishwasher)
  • explain to a student the difference between having an appointment with me and having a date with me (a student told my officemate that he had a date with me… yeah, this was a necessary conversation!)
  • learn the metric system
  • not need directions or a map to get somewhere… our senses of direction are getting surprisingly good here, especially with bus routes and streets near things we enjoy
  • check the weather for the day and then immediate check the air quality for the day
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