beijing snack street

The Unique Perks of Living in China

I’m going to really honest.

Sometimes China really really pisses me off. From small things, like getting pushed and people staring, to bigger things, like censorship and pollution. I’ve said before that emotions towards china tend to be both polarized and intense.

But….. There are some surprising perks to life here. Not the real deep things like cultural understanding, travel experience, personal growth and other significant elements, but just really fun things about living here that I did not expect.

People always think I have good hair

I don’t think I’ve gone more then 24 hours in Nanchong without someone telling me my hair is beautiful. As all curly haired girls know, not every day is a good hair day, but if Chinese people tell its beautiful then I am not one to argue


I’ve always had issues with pedicures at home because I can’t deal with paying a woman who’s probably escaped wars or genocide to scrub my feet for minimum wage. Plus I used to run some serious miles and then they’d always fuss over my black toenails (which is legitimately nasty) But…. I’m totally down with getting foot massages in China. Its amazing.

lanzhong vinegar massage

Food Everywhere

seriously. I may not be able to buy coffee everywhere  but having the option of buying spicy tofu, steamed buns, and milk  tea about every 6 feet is pretty nice. I can’t deal with bubble tea though. The tapioca balls are disturbing.

The haze gives pretty sunsets

Its really strange but the smog does make sunsets look pretty and the mountains look nice in pictures, as long as its just mild haze. Its a somewhat disquieting perk however considering the environmental and health damage it wreaks. This perk is one I would gladly give up.

nanchong sunset

 Food on a stick

There is something exciting about eating food off of a stick. Also it takes a surprising amount of dexterity to do it. Considering the amount of shaokao (bbq) I consume, I’ve rather perfected the art of getting chicken hearts off a stick, which maintaining a dignified conversation

beijing snack street

I always feel weird eating crabs since I’m a crabtree

Less sugar

I’m not actually convinced Chinese food is healthier because there are issues with oil and the mass amounts of MSG. Most processed foods we eat in the west, like condiments, yoghurts, and drinks contain a great deal of added sugars. Here in China sugar is used much less, even a lot of the candys are more like jerky. The only exception seems to be the bread which is quite sweet and rather horrible as toast.

People are genuinely friendly

I was at the grocery store and couldn’t decide what I wanted to make for dinner. I kept pacing around frowning at everything because nothing sounded good. The staff started pointing at things and telling me how delicious it is. Then I was buying some chicken and the lady told I had a bad piece and threw it back in the case. She then consulted with some other women for about 10 minutes until they had decided on a good one for me to buy. I was mostly amused that she put the bad one back in the case.

If you act weird, people assume its an American thing

my co-worker and I used to both always workout before work and then come into the office with damp hair. I don’t consider that  a particulary classy habit, pretty sure my mother tried really hard to convince me not to do that when I was younger but whatever. Anyways people always comment how its funny that Americans don’t dry their hair before they go out. I just nod. They also think Americans lose their keys a lot.

This is hardly a comprehensive list but I find living anywhere comes with some surprising benefits and these are some things I rather enjoy about life here.

In other news I finally got rid of the mouse that has been terrorizing my apartment. Getting in a trap was horrible and I fet insanely guilty about. Before I caught it and was just hearing it running around at night I assumed it was this

and now that its gone, I’m pretty sure it was one of these little guys

wild-mouse-photography-4 wild-mouse-photography-6


as guilty as I feel, I’m still glad that thing is out of my kitchen.