Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Normal Chinese or Weird American?

by Ruth

I was thinking lately about the ways in which I have gradually taken on elements of Chinese culture over the past few years. Nothing serious, just new habits and styles I have picked up, things I wouldn't have done before coming to China. For example...

-I wear long underwear most days from October to April, sometimes 2 or 3 pairs. I really don't know why we don't do that more in America.
-I have been seen wearing a jacket when it's 80 degrees outside, just because other people are. And because I have a fear of cold.
-I prefer squattie-potties, at least in public.
-I like drinking hot water (I still drink cold water in the summer, though, so that only half counts.)
-I have Mickey Mouse stick-ons in the bathroom and kitchen...and I think they're actually legitimate decorations.
-I sometimes/often wear the same outfit for a couple/several days in a row.
-I have occasionally spit on the ground (Gross, huh? I don't do it when people are around, though. And you'll still never see me with my finger up my nose.)
-My current favorite vegetables are garlic bolts and eggplant.
-I use my umbrella as much for sun as for rain.
-I sometimes wear stocking socks with sandals and skirts.
-I have become (mostly) oblivious to fireworks and loud music.
-I think my glowingly-white legs are pretty.
-I stare at other foreigners.

There are some things I don't think will change, though. I think I'll always love cheese and hate fluorescent lights. I still plan to diaper my child (which I'm sure you'll appreciate if I ever come to visit you). And of course there are all those deeper changes that actually matter, and in those ways I still feel like a total outsider. Really, I'm not sure that I've become more Chinese; I've just turned into a really weird American.


Candy said...

After we visited you last time, I started drinking hot water and liked it. Warming on a cold day and faster than tea. But give me ice in the summer!
No split pants for little Ruvin?

Nate and Molly said...

oh dear. My Chinese American friend. That is very interesting.

wynd said...

I compared your list to my list.

1. Nope.
2. Definitely! The Western ones in public are guh-ross!
3. I'm more a Hello Kitty kind of girl, but I definitely know what you're getting at there.
4. I had a teaching outfit each week. One of the things I don't like about America is having to think about what to wear EVERY DAY. I like putting outfits together -- fashion is a hobby of mine...but EVERY DAY. Come on.
5. I don't spit, but I do clear my, um, "congestion." When I do it in public here, I get really, really embarrassed.
6. YES! Eggplant forever!
7. I'm totally scared of the sun.
8. Never. In. My. Entire. Life.
9. I'm pretty sensitive to them again. :( Noisy 8th graders? Eh!
10. I totally use self-tanner.
11. I did that!! Now I stare at Asians and wonder if they're American or not.

Clay said...

i do all the same things too....i went stateside in one backback and wore the same pair of pants for 6 weeks. i did wash them every 3 or 4 days. i would never do that before living in china.
pam in henan