Things I’m discovering that I love about China (Shanghai in particular):
- I love the Muslim place around the corner from where I work. I go to Avocuddle more, but every time I eat at the Muslim place I get something new and I love it. It’s all in Chinese, so I have no idea what I’m ordering. I just look at the pictures, decide what looks the best and fall in love with more food. It’s crazy.
- I like rice better than rice noodles. It’s shocking to me because I don’t really like rice. But today I ordered from the Muslim place and repelled all the noodle dishes in favor of a rice dish (I’m fairly certain it also starred lamb and cinnamon…). I’m starting to learn that rice is not the enemy. It’s hard for me to admit it, even to myself, but rice is actually kind of good. When properly flavored. I love yellow rice, and rice pudding, but other types of rice don’t appeal normally. I’m discovering that it depends on what the rice is coated in. If the rice is coated in juice from the onions, pepper, and lamb that has been grilled to perfection then it is delicious. Rice is good. There. I said it.
- I love the way that lines are made by people and completely disregarded by the mass populace. Westerners make lines and Chinese people ignore them. I am Chinese when it comes to lines. I dislike lines and I love cutting them and I love that I can do that here without malice or dirty looks.
- I love not understanding the language. I don’t mean that I love being made fun of or that I love being practically deaf in this culture. But I love that I can communicate entirely in gestures to some people and it doesn’t matter that I don’t speak Chinese and they don’t understand English. I shared a look with a lady on the metro today. She was sitting and I was looking for a seat and some young guy stole the seat I was headed toward. And we shared a look of complete disgust for the lack of gentlemanly behavior. Then we both smiled because we had been the same for that moment. It was magical and it happens quite frequently and I love it.
- I loveayis. I love that I can forget to do the dishes or be lazy and that someone comes twice a week and cleans the house. I love that because this happens, I am motivated to clean my room and mop my own floor once a week. I love having a clean bathroom and kitchen most of the time.
- I love the art here. It’s ancient and beautiful and fabulous.
- I love the weather. People here complain about the humidity. Emily gets grumpy if it’s too hot and humid. I love it. I don’t mind sweating. I don’t mind being hot. I revel in humidity.
- I like the distance between me and my family. I know that this will make them a little angry. They keep saying I’m too far, but I’m only this far for a year and after living with them for the past three years, half a world away for a year seems suitable. This will probably fade. I know that during Thanksgiving I will experience a gamut of emotions ranging from despair and sadness to anger at them for all being together and happy without me. I’m going to Bali to make myself feel better. But for now, weekly calls are perfect and getting phone calls from Marissa at ungodly hours of the morning are beautiful and while I’m always excited to talk to them, I’m grateful for the time apart. I’m rediscovering myself without my family and I like me. (It should be noted that the first time I did this it was painful because I had never been without my family before and I grew into liking it. Now, I just like it…)
- I love the random city gardens here. There are quite a few and they are delightful.
- I love how people disregard the rules on a daily basis. Security checkpoints are placed in the metro for people’s security and almost everyone ignores it and walks straight into the metro. People park in alleys that are clearly marked no parking. No one messes with the military and from what I understand it is much different in other cities in China. But here in Shanghai there is a freedom because of the metropolitan quality of the culture. And it is beautiful.