I never thought I would ever wear jeans in 30° C weather. I’m surprised I was able to yesterday and not feel warm, but rather, slightly cold (and no I’m not sick). Have I grown accustomed to this city already? Probably not, it’s most likely just some random anomaly.
There are a number of things I want to talk about, but it’s hard to get them into a coherent thought. There are also a number of things I wanted to talk about but have totally forgotten. The only transition I can think of at this point is a realization today that I did not notice that I was on a bus on my way to my other grandma (I’ve been staying with the grandparents on my mom’s side for the past 3 or 4 days). I remember how shocked I was upon seeing how crowded the busses were and how the drivers drove like mad when I was here 4 years ago. Today, it felt like I was riding on a normal bus back home. Today I found myself dazing out and not really noticing the way the bus drivers drove. The busses have improved by a lot (they have air conditioning, wow!), but the drivers still drive in and out, honk a lot, and don’t really make the bus ride all that comfortable.
I’m surprised at how quickly I’ve adjusted to this…different culture. Crossing the street here is like nothing back home. When crossing streets, one has to look not both ways, but 4 ways. Not just once, but while crossing the whole time (assuming one doesn’t want to get hit). It’s a habit I have anyway back home at Vancouver, but the likelihood of a car coming at collision speed is rare. Here, it’s a daily occurrence. First day of crossing a street went like this: “JESUS HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO CROSS?” Now it’s more like: “Hmmm where’s the gap…where is it…there it is!” *bam book it across*
People talk about culture shock a lot and yes, that is a bit of a difficulty. That isn’t a problem for me though. For me it was more of not knowing many people. Yes, I have my relatives, but I don’t know them very well so often it feels like one big awkward meet up (but luckily this time it’s been pretty good). The thought of this reminds me of how I’ve talked about moving to another country and live there (or how often other people talk about moving to another country and living there). I’m only here for a month and a half and during the first few days, I found myself having difficulty in motivating myself to get out of the house (actually I never did unless it was with grandma). Now imagine you’re in a new country and you speak enough of the language to just find a toilet (at best) and you can’t read anything there to save your life. Do you really want to go out and about? While reading this, it’s probably pretty easy to say “hells yes!” but in reality it’s difficult. Some people definitely can; they’re the ones with more spunk to throw themselves out there into difficult situations or have a desire to explore (or are just plain crazy). For most people, it can go either two ways:
- person in new country tentatively goes out bit by bit
- person in new country talks only to friends on the computer (if they’re lucky) and only goes out to get food and other necessities
From those two possibilities, it can go two ways yet again:
- person in new country ends up getting used to it over time and stays
- person in new country gets frustrated and goes back home (though this is often not the case due to economic or social circumstances)
Not going out is pretty lonely. Not having anybody to talk to is even more lonely. Being only able to talk friends/family via computer or telephone makes things a bit better, but it brings too many reminders of home. Then throw in the need to find a job (assuming you didn’t obtain one before getting there), pay rent, and figure out the local language (if it isn’t the same). At this point, things are starting to get a bit complicated.
It isn’t easy to be somewhere new away from where you grew up. Having things be entirely different makes it even harder. I’ve gone out and taken public transit a few times. I have two bus cards with 200 RMB each (taking public transit uses up money pretty quickly). I feel rather confident in taking public transit to random places in order to see where things are. It’s something I meant to do in Vancouver but never got around to doing…it’ll help me get to know this city a bit better for the future (though I’m not entirely sure I’d want to come back).
Anywho, here are some shots from the Expo pavilion. Like I said before, not very interesting. The only amusing experience I got from it was how the folks visiting would make a mad dash while pushing and shoving to sit down to view some big screen. I find that extremely sad and funny at the same time and it’s something I will never understand.