Before moving here, I had heard of “culture shock” before, of course, who hasn’t? But I never really knew just how much of an affect those shocks would have on me after my arrival. This is my first time travelling so far away from home, all the way to the other side of the world. I knew it would be a totally different culture with its own customs, but some things I think are just unacceptable and very nasty. Like what?
There are many things that were quite a culture shock for me, but I’m going to keep it to the ones most foreigners here complain about when we’re together.
- NO SPITTING
China is the first country I’ve been to with “NO SPITTING” signs. I thought the people in Amsterdam were nasty for spitting any time, any where… BOY! I was not aware it could get nastier than that. In China I’ve seen people spit on the bus, on the train, next to the table where they eat (while eating), I’d seen it all. I remember when I went to Beijing （北京） and Harbin （哈尔滨）last year, it was FREEZING, between -12 and -32 degrees. Every single step I took, there was frozen spit on the sidewalk. I kid you not. And what is the worst of all, is the sound they make before spitting. Omigosh, my ears! This was the biggest culture shock for me. I mean, does someone need to tell you that you can’t spit inside the bus? Real head scratcher.
- DOING YOUR BUSINESS IN PUBLIC
Another thing I thought odd, was parents letting their kids just pee and poop on the sidewalk. Many a times there was a public bathroom nearby, but the parents just allowed the kids to “go” right then and there. I sometimes see little kids just lowering their pants/hiking up dresses to pee on the sidewalk, then continue playing together again. Are there public restrooms nearby? Yes, there are.
Here are a few personal things that really bothered me in the beginning.
Yawning without covering one’s mouth. It really bothered me in the beginning, but now… not anymore. I’ve just accepted it. I still think it’s rude and do not understand how it can be acceptable to not cover one’s mouth while yawning, but when in Rome… I guess they don’t think of it as being rude. Most of the Chinese people I know are very friendly, very warm, so I know it’s not their intention to be rude. One of my students yawns a lot, and she yawned and yawned and yawned. Finally I couldn’t take looking into her mouth anymore, all thirty-something teeth staring back at me, so I told her. She now covers her mouth, LOL!