Anticipating home

The anticipation of our trip home is palpable. Right now few people are on campus and I haven’t got much to do work-wise with so many people already gone for Chinese New Year. The whole situation has me wishing we could’ve come home earlier or stayed longer. Honestly, I’ve felt homesick only in the past few days, and it’s probably because I’m counting down the hours…

Andy and I started a list of things we’re looking forward to on our walk home from dinner. So instead of raving about how much we’re looking forward to our visit (because we totally are), I hope to entertain you with some insight about what cultural differences we expect to encounter when we set foot on American soil. (Some of these I’ve addressed in previous blog posts and some I haven’t mentioned yet. Enjoy.)

When we come home, we expect to…

  • See people who wait in lines for things. (Lines, or “queues” as our British friends call them, are not really a standard here in China. For example, you take a number at the bank. People may cut in line in the U.S., but these line jumpers have *nothing* on the Chinese who push and shove.)
  • Walk in crosswalks with less fear of being hit by cars, buses, e-bikes, or other pedestrians. (Here in China, I am a perpetual player of the hit Atari game “Frogger.”)
  • Breathe air outdoors without needing to wear a protective mask or respirator.
  • Witness clarity regarding residential addresses and physical locations of businesses. (Demonstrations of such clarity may include mail being delivered, using GPS to find a business or friend’s home, or simply going from one place to another without needing to ask 14 people for help.)
  • Inhale FAR less second-hand smoke.
  • Feel weird about not needing a VPN to access most of the internet.
  • Use a debit/credit card. (International cards aren’t accepted here, as noted in my entry about Wal-Mart.)
  • Order menu items and actually receive what we order. (Example: tonight I ordered watermelon juice and received freshly-squeezed orange juice. This was at a western restaurant we frequent where the waitstaff speaks English. My face: o_O)
  • Hear fewer people coughing, hacking, and spitting. (See here:
  • Walk on sidewalks made on concrete and not bricks or tile that are loose or slick as ice once they get wet.
  • Feel weird about people holding doors open instead of just letting them fall on us. (Kindness like this regarding doors never existed here, so far as I can tell.)
  • Feel weird about walking to and from parking lots instead of bus stops.
  • Experience a bit of “sticker shock” regarding prices of goods made in China.

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