Monday, January 16, 2012

Tips for Living in China

  1. Don’t assume the Internet will be faster than dial-up speed, and always keep reading material next to the computer. This may prevent you from punching the computer. It probably won’t prevent you from swearing at it, though.
  2. Don’t let the dishes get ahead of you. A twice-a-week ayi doesn’t account for three-meals-a-day dishes.
  3. Don’t let the laundry get ahead of you, especially with a machine that holds, at most, two bath towels at the same time.
  4. When you’re out and about and you encounter a western toilet, use it. Seize the loo. But also understand that you will need to learn to use the other kind too. Pee happens.
  5. When you have the inevitable stomach issue, thinking of it as a cleansing.
  6. Don’t ask why your pants suddenly feel snug. You know why.
  7. There’s no reason to suffer from jet lag. That’s why God made Ambien.
  8. If you want to reach people, send them a text. There are no answering machines or voice mail, and lots of folks don’t bother to check email.
  9. To survive a Beijing winter, you have to have a steady supply of body lotion, chapstick, and a humidifier. Never leave the house without a hat or gloves either.
  10. Get over your American sense of a body space bubble. The rest of the world gets a lot closer.
  11. Don’t be so tidy that you leave nothing for the ayi to do. That’s when she starts messing with the clothes in your closet.
  12. When you’re not looking for a taxi, you’ll see hundreds of them. When you desperately need one, you’ll suddenly be in competition with Beijing’s other 22 million residents. You may be body-checked by an older Chinese woman for a taxi door. When you realize you’ve lost, it will not be your finest moment.

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