Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Take Me Home, Country Roads

Well, it's official. I'm leaving on a jet plane, and yeah, I don't know when I'll be back again. But I know it'll be sometime, I love Yunnan too much not to come back. And so, in lieu of my continued adventures in China, I present to you: Things I'm Going to Miss and Things I'm Really Not Going To Miss about China/America. (Note: I will continue recounting my various antics when I reach the other side of the Pacific. Continue checking back for continuation of our Xinjiang trip, my two weeks in Kunming, my Nujiang research, and my three days as a Pumi peasant.)

Things I'm Going to Miss About China

-Outdoor markets
-Bargaining for anything and everything
-How incredibly cheap everything is. Seriously. Even when it's expensive-- it's cheap.
-Being able to look forward to have a new experience every day-- whether it be as small as a new word learned or as big as a new place travelled
-Seeing people wearing traditional, non-Western clothing
-Being able to meet people whose way of life is so different from mine
-Feeling badass for speaking Chinese so well
-Salvadore's American breakfast and amazing ice cream (I'm eating some as I type)
-The general laidback atmosphere of Kunming
-Feeling like a celebrity, like something worth getting excited over, just because of where I'm from and how I look
-The incredibly generous, giving, warm people who let me into their lives and their homes in the last 5 months
-Text messaging in Chinese
-Old people doing exercises in the park
-Old people playing majiang and smoking pipes
-Old people crinkling up their eyes and smiling toothlessly at me because I'm a foreigner
-Chinese children ages 0-8 and their ridiculous adorableness.
-Chinese babies with their butts hanging out
-People who use abaci in shops
-DVDs at Y5 a pop
-Saying "Wei?" when I answer my cell phone

Things I'm Really Not Going To Miss

-The beds, which feel like sleeping on a board (sometimes, you actually are)
-Fearing for my life every time I cross a street
-Fearing for my life every time I get in a car
-Having to worry about where I might be sick next
-Feeling like a curiousity/freak because of the color of my skin and the shape of my eyes
-Squat toilets
-Having to carry my own toilet paper with me everywhere and sometimes forgetting
-Bathrooms where you get fined if you poop
-Censored internet
-The rainy season
-Accidentally eating hot peppers in supposedly un-spicy food
-People commenting on my weight (cultural norm or not)
-The way important things (like banks and hospitals) are only open during the week, as if people don't need things on the weekends
-Wearing the same shirt 8 times and the same pants 12 times before laundry day
-Having to handwash my socks and underwear
-Freezing cold showers in the morning
-Bus drivers who don't stop for bathroom breaks until everyone is jumping up and down and crossing their legs
-Eight hour bus rides over moon landscapes masquerading as roads
-The pollution-- air, water, and so very much trash
-Horrid Chinese sugar pop music
-Exhausting myself speaking Chinese every day

Things I'm Looking Forward To About the US

-Sandwiches! (I was watching an episode of "Scrubs" the other day on my computer, and they were eating sandwiches. And I thought, "Wow! I totally forgot about sandwiches! Awesome!")
-Hot water! Whenever I want it!
-Fresh fruit without having to worry or take a million years to peel it!
-Drinking tap water! From the tap!
-Listening to English-language radio
-Summertime crap TV (everything I missed in the spring)
-Reuniting with friends, of course
-Forks and knives
-Rereading the entire Harry Potter series, and then Harry Potter 7
-Well-paved roads
-Cars equipped with actual shock absorbers
-Being able to read all my friends' blogs again

*Note that these lists are subject to change and will likely be added to once I get home and can see more clearly the things I am enjoying and those that I am missing. Then I will re-post this entry.

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