You would think the hardest part of being an American who relocated as far away as China would be the culture shock; but, it isn’t. The thing that was hardest for me was to incorporate myself back into a family. I’ve been separated from Chef over 10 years now, and all of my kids grew up and moved away. I’ve been on my own for so long, I’d forgotten the beautiful, but somewhat exhausting, chaos of relationships under the same roof.
What made this particularly hard for me is that I am so introverted. Living alone gave me plenty of down time to recharge but I’m now living in a house with two grandchildren – 1 1/2 and 3 years old – who don’t understand the concept of introversion and wouldn’t care if they did. They like hanging with me and tend to want to do just that most of the time they are awake. It took me some time, but we’ve settled into a decent routine that allows me some time to myself but lets them still hang with me all they want.
As for China, I would have to say the first word that comes to my mind about this place is peaceful. I know. It surprised me too. It’s very safe here. No guns. No large police or military presence. Because where I live has no airport, no planes constantly coming and going. There aren’t even traffic cops here, per se. If you break a traffic law, it is caught on camera. They send you the picture, a fine, and you pay online. Quick and efficient.
Everything here is a reasonable price. In dollars, the bus and subway are less than a dollar to ride. Anyone here can purchase and ride a scooter, and the infrastructure has lanes and lights that are for them specifically. So, you don’t need a car to work here. You have many, many reliable ways to get to your job. Labor problems are nothing China needs to worry about, having the largest population in the world. As such, the city stays clean and well-cared for. There are so many amazing restaurants to choose from, and they genuinely adore their children, offering tons of play parks and other small children-geared entertainment. Under their overpasses and along every single street are all sorts of gardens and trees. Suzhou has many, many rivers all through the city. I feel like I live in a garden.
Every single thing here isn’t regulated. For instance, there are no licenses for fishing and hunting. You can take a pole, go downstairs to the river that literally runs right in front and fish. I love it. And yes, there are plenty of fish still in these rivers. Amazing.
I’ve been trying to get my pictures off of my phone for the food post but I’ve run into some problems. Don’t give up on me! I’ll get them on here one way or another!
~ Bird in China