Living in China: After culture shock

What nobody told you: it might get pretty boring. Unless you are patient.

Get up. Have a shower. Go to work.  Have lunch. Go to work. Go for dinner. Go to bed. Get up. Go to work...

No matter what people (including me) tell you, life in China is still just a life. With Monday mornings, nasty duties and every-day headaches. Once the culture shock and culture fatigue are gone, there is not much happening. How is that possible??? You live in a foreign country! You have a cool job! You have cool friends! Why it suddenly doesn't feel much more exciting than that of a part-time job at uni?

At times like these, I'm eternally happy for starting a blog. Writing about all the weird things in this country makes me think about them again and again. Analyse them. Try to speak about them to people who aren't here. Every time I surprise someone with another weird China fact I realise how much I have learnt since coming to China. The logical conclusion: I was healed from the culture shock and things just don't surprise me anymore.

Except boredom, it means confidence. After I got over it,  I became much more assertive in communication with the locals. Shy giggling and impolite staring just don't bother me anymore. Frowning of the shop assistants doesn't offend me anymore. Excited yelling "You are beautiful" doesn't make me blush anymore. I've become slightly cynical. On the other hand, overcoming these rather superficial issues allows me to see much deeper. 

But there's a spin-off: I will probably never overcome culture shock. There are always deeper and deeper layers to unveil, there are always situations which wouldn't surprise a local but give me a light heart-attack. Instead of thinking how exciting and new it all was at the beginning, and how dull the life in China seems now, it's better to consider this the quiet period before China strikes again. And then you wish you got your dull life back.

Before that happens, I try to enjoy my quiet life.  We spent the weekend two weeks ago in Macau and it was magical. Last week we got invited to a beautiful countryside hotel, made some new Chinese friends, drank a lot of baijiu and watched a crazy acrobatic performance 130 meters above the ground. Tomorrow, we leave Foshan for 5 days to explore Shanghai. Slowly and thoroughly. All of this while constantly working on my masterpiece, post about vegetarian's joys and sorrows in China. Working on photo material for this topic isn't bad at all!

Do you have any experience with culture shock? Share with us in comments!

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Comments: 3
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