Chinese impressions, by Rachel Goodwin

The biggest piece of advice I could give someone coming to china is to come with no expectations. While I’ve been here I’ve learned that people watch too much tv and expect to come to this fictional place because that’s what they’ve seen. It’s safe to say if that’s the reason you’re coming you will be disappointed. However if you’re coming for a change of lifestyle and a very different culture then you’re coming to the right place.

China is full of weird and wonderful quirks. The traffic was the first thing that caught my attention upon arrival. Not the sheer amount but just the chaos of it. It wasn’t until a while later that I understood that it was organized chaos. I have never seen something so seemingly crazy work so well! It’s quite poetic really!

The language is something else that takes a lot of getting used to. You can’t understand anything or even read a road sign but ultimately it is wonderful. At first it sounds like people are just screaming around you but if you listen carefully it seems almost song like with all of the different tones they use. It’s quite an experience trying to get around at first as you will likely know no Chinese and the Chinese have very little to no English so it’s a lot of gestures. It almost looks like you’re playing charades so be prepared to laugh at yourself. The translation apps can also be a bit off sometimes, I was once told to go somewhere called princesses grave for something. It’s safe to say I found this odd but hilarious.

One of the best things I noticed is how friendly the Chinese are. People just want to stop and say hello, take your picture (granted I found this very strange at first but it kind of grows on you) and just be in your presence.

Not being able to use certain apps and websites is a concern for some people. It does take a bit of getting used to but after a week or so it’s really nice. It’s a very big change after most people live their lives on social media but the restricted access makes you really appreciate where you are and what you’re doing. It helps you to live your own life and not live through the lives of others on Facebook.

China is a very big and thriving place. Its constantly busy but there are the few hidden gems around that are full of nature and beauty. Some of the nicest temples blend in amongst a flurry of trees and flowers. These places are amazing to go to with friends or even alone. The old Summer Palace is a good example of this. This place was buzzing with tourists but the land is that big you would barely see any as you were walking around. It is the perfect place to relax!

China has been a great adventure for me so far, I have learned a lot about a culture that is so different from my own.

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