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Top Ten things I miss about home

December 2, 2010

#2. Clear blue skies. (Stock image courtesy of the lovely interwebs.)

Sticking with the going theme… and because all the Christmas decorations (blog post about how the “Christmas season” in China soon) make me think of home. And because I’m a little homesick.

Note: Obviously, family and friends are what I miss the most, so this list is really top ten things excluding people I love.

10. Crossing the street in peace. It’s so nice to cross the street and not have to constantly look all around your body, stop multiple times for assholes on mopeds or impatient bus drivers, and bump into 20-odd Chinese people in a rush. Yeah. I miss that.

9. Being able to send and receive packages in the mail. It was so nice to order things online easily, or when my mom could send me boxes in college of things I forgot, or just boxes with chocolate or popcorn or other things inside. Here, the postal service is very slow, and not at all reliable. Sadly.

8. Space. China’s really crowded. Especially everywhere.

7. Wide array of feminine hygeine products. I won’t get into detail here, since men read this, but let’s just say there’s a whole… half of the products offered in the U.S. that you can’t find in China. Except O.B. Eww.

6. Understanding background conversations. There is something so comforting about being able to tune in to conversations happening around you. You feel like you’re home. Here, when I cannot escape the fact that I’m in a foreign land, even in the most “Westernized” places.

5. Fast internet. Damn it’s slow here. Just damn. What takes almost 2 hours to download here, even at when the internet is at its fastest, takes 15 minutes to download at home.

4. Uncensored internet. I can get around it with my VPN (virtual private network), but it’s soooo sloooow, and I can’t access a bunch of websites and blogs from work (ALL Google Blogger blogs are blocked – so is Google Docs for some reason). I miss the freedom.

3. Cheap foreign food. In the US, I can get cheap anything made by a people that were at some point immigrants: Mexican, Vietnamese, Korean, and so on. Here, although there is lots of foreign food available, if it’s not Chinese, it’s expensive (including all western food, like pizza). This is because it’s impossible to immigrate to China and become a citizen, and it’s much harder for foreigners to start businesses. As a result, all foreign businesses are somewhat upscale, or Sino-fied big chains. And Chinese pizza has bizarre toppings like shrimp and corn.

–2.5. Reasonabley priced coffee.

2. Clear blue skies and food I know is safe. Pollution is so gross here. It’s so noticeable. The air is gray and full of “particulate matter” that is slowly poisoning my lungs. And it makes the city look ugly. I wash my fruit and vegetables in unclean water. I can’t drink the tap water. I totally avoid seafood for fear of my life. Really anything I eat here could be tainted with carcinogens.

1. A community. Okay, this is sorta people, but I think of it more as an experience. And it’s just tough here, because I don’t have a community yet. Sort of the expat community… but not really. Everyone still feels like a stranger. But I have faith that, with time, this will come.

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