Many of the things I disliked about China when I first came I have learned to overlook since I have returned. I am back with a few friends who have come for the first time and I am seeing China through their eyes and see what I saw my first visit. One of the first things they mentioned was how stinky it was. Our bathroom in our room smells like a sewer. My first response is “it could be worse, we could have mold growing on our walls and sewer backing up.” We bought some bleach and pour it down the drain periodically.
The first day here we went shopping for my favorite blankets. As we came to the entrance of the store a man was standing there holding a little baby boy with his split pants spread eagle letting him pee. When he finished we walked in the store and proceeded to shop. I am used to seeing this and forget how alarming it can be to a new person in China.
The sound of a man or woman coughing up flem in their throat is a common sound and you must be cautious as to where that will land when they spit. I had to warn my newcomers of this nuance. It is something I am not fond of but have gotten used to.
The aroma in the cafeteria and the Chinese spices and flavorings they use in the food is another interesting phenomenon. I still don’t like going down to the cafeteria for breakfast because the smell of eggs is really strong. For those who have not been here before they quickly find all the food taste similar and has the same spices and sauces on it. In other words if you’ve tried one dish you’ve tried them all.
The streets and sidewalks are very bumpy and rough. My mantra here is “every step intentional.” I don’t want to trip and fall and there are always multiple opportunities to do that as the unevenness of the walkways and obstructions are everywhere.
I am at ease with all these things that are now being seen for the first time with my friends. It’s funny how I have become accustomed to the inconveniences and just say “that’s China”.