San Francisco

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Laugh With Me

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Laugh With Me

Culture Shock, Part 1

A good, healthy dose of culture shock is something that I feel is entirely too necessary;
it's kind of like when your heart starts to stop, and the nice people at Seattle Grace
use the defillibrators defribillators defibrillators to start it up again -
it's something that your system needs, even though it may seem quite different and
not so pleasant at the present moment.

{#1 - am I even using the correct medical term for the correct medical situation?
#2 - my doctor dad is shaking his head right now
#3 - and my Grey's-loving roommate is shaking her head at me as well,
sorry I can't deal with blood and guts, not even when it's ketchup or whatever they use on TV...}

I have a running inner commentary working in overtime,
about all of these novel things I'm experiencing.
Here are a few:

1. People, people everywhere || there is practically a mob everywhere you turn -
bus stations, restaurants, hospitals, sidewalks, bathrooms, seriously everywhere. These
pictures were taken after dinner at a supermarket - on a very normal day, in a single
supermarket that is close to about eight other supermarkets with just as many people. 
I think if Black Friday was a thing in China, they'd have to call in the national troops.

2. A blatant disregard for rules || the Chinese honestly just think that as individuals, 
they are the exception to every rule. Here, we drive in oncoming traffic lanes, 
we smoke where there are "No Smoking" signs, we bring outside food and drinks 
into the restaurant when the policy clearly states not to. 
But you know what, it's slightly admirable, isn't it? 
Don't let other people tell you what to do - yolo!

3. {A lack of} Dairy products || no (or at least, very expensive) cheese, butter, etc. 
Milk tastes very different - it's sweeter and creamier. 
Yoghurt is the drinkable variety. Ice cream - unless you get a cone at 
McDonald's - is usually in flavors such as red bean, lychee, or taro.

4. Public transportation || is simply magical here. You can't walk three steps 
without hitting a bus station or a subway station or taxi station, 
and they take you anywhere you want to go. And this stuff is so cheap, 
they're practically paying you to take you to places - public buses are 1.60 yuan 
(less than 30 cents), taxis usually don't go above 12 yuan (2 big buckaroos). 
The only con is that during rush hours, you are literally sardines in a can, 
or you cannot for the life of you flag down a taxi. Refer to #1.

5. Everyone is family || Anyone older than you is a "brother/sister, aunt/uncle,
grandma/grandpa" - relatives and strangers alike. Any baby or child is "baobao" 
or "precious jewel." It's cute, it's really cute.

My sweet baby second-cousin (who, yes, calls me "auntie") just asked - 
do people in America smile like we do here in China? 
Yes, baobao, that much we have in common.

Until next time!


  1. I love reading your posts, you have such a funny way of describing things! I hope to travel as much as I can one day and get to experience different cultures like this!

  2. this is awesome! I always think culture shock is one of the coolest experiences you can feel. way to go!

  3. Sounds like such an amazing experience!

  4. Wow wow, those pictures! I remember the culture shock I felt when I studied abroad in Japan. I think one of the best growing experiences in the world is being thrown into a culture unlike the one you grew up with. It really made me understand that we must celebrate both differences and similarities with our fellow humans.

  5. OMG, so many people!


  6. Tons of people! Sometimes a culture shock is good :)

  7. Wow I would definitely feel a little out of place. Lots lots of people everywhere, I can't even imagine. I can relate to the daily one. When I went to London and had milk there it tasted so different. I'm daily spoiled since I'm from California.


  8. Wow, what a culture shock indeed. Your cousin is such a sweetie.

  9. Haha love the chat about culture shock. You are right, it can be tough but it is good for us.

    Sweet Apple Lifestyle

  10. Love this post :) Can't wait to hear more stories...


  11. What a cute post. I know what you mean about the culture shock, every time I visit Cuba to see my family something stops me on my tracks lol

    I love red bean ice-cream. So far so good for me :)


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xx Caroline