Tuesday, January 22, 2013


Sometimes in China it is frustrating, especially as a foreigner in a small city.  It can be very hectic some days when you just want to blend in and be ignored, which is unlikely when you have blonde hair and blue eyes.  Yet, there are times when you just have to laugh at some of the weird things you discover.  So I will share some of those moments with you, whoever you are!

Living in China is nice, most all of your neighbors are quiet and go to bed early.  Usually each apartment complex has guards at night and a gate that closes at a decent hour, but the gate can become a nuisance if you come home late.  Why? Well because its an electronic gate that only a gate keeper can open, you don't get a key.  It closes around 9pm, so if you are out much later you either A) climb over the gate (not too high) or B) try to push the heavy gate which will set off the alarm in the gate keepers house and wake him up, which in turn his family and then you feel like shit.  I have tried both ways.  One night I came home around 1:30am and of course the gate was closed.  I felt really bad for coming in so late and didn't want to wake the gate keeper, so I decided to climb over it.  I'm short, so the difficulty level was higher (no pun intended) for me.  I threw my bag over and managed to somehow get one leg over with the help of a ledge. I was almost all the way over when the gate started to open, therefore nearly crushing my legs; apparently the gate keeper's alarm goes off when the gate is nudged in any way, so much for me trying to be courteous. 

Not my actual apartment gate but its very similar and the same size lol
The second time I came home late it was about 12am not too late and I was just very tired and mad at the stupid gate for being closed so early, it's discrimination against the youth and people who are night owls (although usually I am not and Chinese kids aren't allowed to do anything till they are 18 really).  So, I tried pushing the gate open, I had watched many people do it before; at the time I didn't realize how tough it was to budge.  I pushed, but it was an awkward angle and the gate keeper was nowhere to be seen; I thought to myself "Of course it opens when I'm climbing it, but when I'm trying to do it the right way it doesn't work." I gave it another push and got it open enough to squeeze through, nearly ripping my jacket.  I took two steps away and the gate began to open.  Bastard.

Definitely what I looked like, until I was rescued by a man with lung cancer 
Usually when you live in a multi-level apartment building in the US there is an elevator, but not in China; there are also lights that stay on in very staircase and hallway to help people see in the US, but not in China.  If the light goes off, its sound activated, so it will turn on whenever there it movement.  Chinese buildings have the sound activated lights, but they aren't sensitive at all.  When I first arrived into my building it was daylight, so there was enough light coming through the windows and into the halls to see, but when night came, I realized how complicated the lights were.  I walked into the building and it was total darkness, usually you can just stomp your foot and the lights would turn on, but not here.  I stood there jumping and stomping for what seems like forever trying to get the light to return, but then a man came inside and coughed; the light turned on.  I was dumbstruck and felt like an idiot.  The next day I tried coughing to get the light to turn on; still nothing happened.  Then I remembered the man did this deep cough, the Chinese do it so well, so I tried it out and it worked.  Whenever you need a light to turn on just cough deeply, like a smokers cough or like you're hacking something up (I swear).

Even the animals stare at you funny.
I'm sure they are thinking: "What the hell is that thing? Will it eat me?"
People stare as I have mentioned many times before, sometimes it fine and other times it makes you feel uncomfortable and on rare occasions it just makes you laugh: I have a few like the last one.  One day I was walking along and this man looks at me, while he was coming toward me; he looked so confused.  He got closer, so close that I had to stop or I would have run into his face with mine.  I guess he wanted to make sure I was actually a foreigner and not some Chinese looking foreigner.  Weirdo  Another time I was walking towards this group of men and women with my dinner in my arms, they were all chatting and laughing, so when they all stopped and turned to look in my direction so suddenly, I quickly looked behind me expecting to see something terrible; there was nothing there.  They had all seen me at the same time and when one sees something the rest follow along; it's as if they saw an alien and they scared the shit out of me.  You know it's funny because it's considered rude to stare at people in China, but man, they break that rule every time they see me; and they have issues with personal space, as well, which is sometimes creepy.

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