Thursday, November 7, 2013

About: Living in China I

So I still haven't figured out how to properly post with Blogger and I also haven't found any other good software yet that would suit my needs... but I do feel like blogging A LOT recently and I really have tons and tons of stuff that I would love to share. But yeah it is really frustrating without the software you are used to for 3 years so I thought I'd do something that works even on blogger. Writing.

It's been over 10 moths since I first set foot on Chinese soil and a lot has happened. I want to post things in a more timely order so I thing firstly I just want to talk a little about living in China generally.

I am honest with you. I had no clue about China before I came here. I read a couple of books, took some simple language lessons, applied for the Visa and here I am. I imagined a country where you see thousands of day workers everywhere, everything a bit run down and then those shiny new bits in between, lots of communistic relics and generally just millions of people. Turns out I was right and wrong at the same time.

When I first got out of the airport and into the cab the first thing I noticed was the pollution... it was just grey everywhere. Not just ON everything but the air was thick with grey mist... and I thought: great. And this is where I will be staying for the next 6 months...


The pollution is definitely one of the worst things about China... you can smell it, you can feel it on your skin, it makes you cough on bad days. The foreigners in BJ tend to check the AQI (Air Quality Index) every day to see if you should wear a mask or not, the vast Chinese population seems to be either indifferent or unaware of the effects on your health and usually doesn't wear any masks - some thin cloth ones if any. But before you get horror scenarios in your mind it is really not THAT bad... it's annoying mostly. So if it gets into the "unhealthy" charts, around 100 maybe, I wear a mask. And I look a bit like Bane sans the bulky boldness.


However many many days it is really not that noticeable. You get plenty of blue sky, low pollution days and a lot of sunshine when there is no grey fog around because that is the second most prominent thing I noticed about the BJ climate: It hardly EVER rains.
It does rain occasionally, especially during the summer months, and it also can pour down on you like doomsday but the next day all traces will be gone; not even a puddle left. Most days though it is just dry. Not a single cloud on the sky. Coming from LONDON of all places I actually quite appreciate this fact.
Now enough for the general observations... how about LIVING IN CHINA???
Well let me tell you the first thing. NOBODY SPEAKS ENGLISH.
That's right. I arrived at my "International Hotel" and not a single person could talk to me. Not even the receptionist. Great. Fortunately I had my most awesome colleague to help me with everything during the first couple of weeks from paying hotel bills, ordering food and finding a place to getting a sim card. Without her I would have been lost. I just recently read this article in a small local newspaper about this girl that was preparing to go to China and was feverishly brushing up her English to get by. Oh how I laughed. She will get one hell of a wake up call.
It's been about 8 months in total that I have been here and still my Chinese is survival level at best. I have never had classes apart from an introductory course at Uni so most of my current Chinese (only HSK Lvl 2) was learned from friends and over the internet (I can actually really recommend So basically I get by. I can order food, tell the taxi driver where to go, understand simple questions (and answer simple) but I am still far from actually speaking Chinese... I hope it will get better over time, especially now that I have a new job where most people don't speak English. Wish me luck.
This is it for today, I am in Chengdu actually, on a business trip, and I need to get to bed after I haven't slept AT ALL last night. But that's a different story which I shall describe in Part II - including Visa headaches and strange eating habits.
Stay tuned.


  1. I hun, lovely post! I lived and went to primary school (dulwich) in Shanghai and then Beijing when I was younger, I have been a long term expat and it was my favourite place to live. Luckily when I was there the pollution wasn't too bad as it was a it the lead up to the olympics so they closed loads of factories. I've been back a few times since to see friends. The summer palace in Beijing is on of my favourite places to go and ice skating on houhai is great fun too. Where are you living? x

  2. I am Chinese and live in Shenzhen, the weather here is well.

  3. I am Chinese and live in Shenzhen, the weather here is well.


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