HOW DO YOU KNOW YOU HAVE BECOME AN EGG IN CHINA?
I have recently met up with one of the first Chinese friends I made in Shanghai. It’s been a longer while since we last saw each other (might be even a year) and in such cases, it is usually easier to spot all kinds of differences that we humans tend to gain/adopt within time.
It didn’t take my friend more than an hour to share his observation with me and the verdict was ‘ You do realize you have become an egg, you know?!’
What did he mean? Think how an egg looks like – it is white outside with yellow yolk inside. And that’s perfect representation of a foreigner a of Caucasian origin who got to live in China for a while, settled down and made it to be his or her home. His/Her skin is white outside but ‘the inside’ – that is behavior and attitude – has become much more Chinese (“yellow’) than – in my case – Polish/European.
So what exactly convinced my friend and – now that I got to think about it more – myself as well – that I am ‘an egg’?
1.I use Chinese sounds/expressions as a natural reaction to the ‘outside world.
ayoooo – for those surprise, confussion and embarrassment and generally any moment when
the situation leaves me speechlesss
ok lah! – because ’ ok’ without lah doesn’t sound convincing anyomore
zěn me má fan 怎么 麻烦 for anything irritating, annoying or troublesome
shén me ?! 什么 In response to shocking news of any kind
2. I can’t imagine how my life would look like without all the convenience that WeChat brings.
Whether I need beauty/food/IT advice – why would I bother with google if there are gazillion of WeChat groups. And this app brings the word ‘connected’ to a whole different level!
Cash? – who carries it if you pay for everything with your WeChat pay!
3.If I need to get something, I check it on Taobao first because why bother going to physical store.
Whether I need shower filter, flour or my mouthwash – I always check China’s one and only online shopping heaven!
4. I celebrate Chinese New Year and check what my animal symbol has in store for me!
What does the Year of The Rooster have in store for Pig ( which is my Chinese animal sign?) – well- I even check it more often than the Western horoscope…
5. I eat the main meal first, then soup.
In Poland and probably everywhere else in the West it is soup that comes first and then the main meal.In China it is totally opposite. The soup usually comes at the end, to help you digest al l the dishes you had.
I just realized the other day that even at one of my favorite Western ‘healthy eateries’ I still had my soup after the main meal…
6. I carry my own ‘refillable’ bottle and infuse my – obviously – HOT water with fruit and Chinese herbs.
In summer in particular, you will notice that every cab driver has his own personal water bottle filled with goji berries and tea leaves.
I don’t just drink plain mineral water anymore but also carry my ‘refillable’ tea bottle and infuse my water with fresh fruits, dry fruits or rose buds ( for skin’s sake of course!)
Well – if you are brave enough to come/stay in China – especially Shanghai during summer – you will see that ‘just’ water is not enough to quench your thirst!
7. TCM is an essential part of my lifestyle.
I eat ‘cold’ foods in summer and ‘warm’ in winter to keep my body in balance, I drink hot water because nothing works better for any conceivable condition .
8. I divide people living in China into foreigners and Chinese.
It doesn’t matter where you are from – you are either lǎo wài 老外 or Asian.
It struck me that this will actually stay with you till the end even if you ever leave China. The other day one of my best friends was updating me on the current events at her present job. The funniest part was that even in her home country ( she still works with Chinese people though), she would say – ‘Yeah, the foreigners also have a break this week’