Friday, July 02, 2010

China Reflections: Trying New Things

While preparing for my trip to China, I resolved one thing: I would try anything.

To help me open my eyes and my mind to the types of things I might encounter, I made sure to read my cousins' blog about their lives in China. They posted on all sorts of things, from their daily happenings to Chinese cultural topics like dating, food, toilets, holidays, schooling, etc. I'm so glad I did!

For example, I learned that food is served family-style in China. The center of the table is a giant lazy Susan, and everyone uses their own chopsticks to pull small amounts from each dish as it is pushed around. From their posts, I knew that it was impolite to favor a particular dish. I also knew that when someone of a higher rank than me offered me something, it would be impolite not to eat it - like the spicy boiled crawfish I was offered by a government health director.

I also knew that I probably wouldn't see regular toilets outside of our hotels and apartment. Public restrooms are "squatties," or a whole in the floor of the stall over which one (you guessed it) squats to do their business. I'm happy to say that I managed several squatties without so much as batting an eye. Here's a particular clean one in a McDonald's:
From Wuhan Day 3

Some other firsts I tried were: duck eggs and goose liver, accepting a toast in Chinese, street food, pigs' feet, rice wine, touching a leper, teaching English at a Chinese university, bargaining for souvenirs, walking the Great Wall of China, and watching the original Superman movie with Chinese subtitles.

All in all, I can't wait to go back!


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