Oh China, My China
Maybe it is because the sky is brilliantly blue as I am writing this post. Maybe it is because I spent the weekend exploring its gritty narrow roads and perfectly situated temples. Maybe it is because I know I am less than a week away from getting out of here…but I’m currently having a moment with China.
This place that I choose to call home is not necessarily easy to love. For starters, it is not particularly beautiful. Its landscape is dull and dusty. The skies are often grey. Some might even call them polluted (and on some days, they would be right).
Store fronts are functional, but not necessarily inviting. People are friendly, but language and cultural barriers make them hard to reach.
And speaking of language. Dang if Chinese isn’t all sorts of complicated. You can’t just “pick it up”. And, to an untrained ear, it can sound incredibly coarse and harsh (Okay…imagine that people are sitting face to face at a quaint little coffee shop screaming at each other. That is what it sounds like).
Life here is filled with constant noise. Cars. Horns. Drills. Ringtones. Chatter. Construction. People openly singing. Radios openly playing. And spitting.
Aggressively loud spitting.
And while I can understand why a person might not find these characteristics endearing (many times “that person” is me), I can’t help but fall a little bit more in love with China every single day.
It is just so real.
Not perfect. Not easy. Just real.
I wish I knew how to properly explain what I mean by that. I mean…everywhere is real, right?
Maybe. But much like a teenage girl trying on various personas to impress her peers, I find some places to be less than authentic. Like they are trying too hard to be something they aren’t. Or maybe it is just that they seem to care about all the wrong things. Either way…a lack of authenticity, whether it is found in places or people, bugs me. I can’t get on board with fakeness. It’s not my jam.
China isn’t trying to impress anyone. It is what it is. It is unapologetically itself. I love that. I could learn from that.
So as I pack my suitcases for the summer and head off to the land of credit cards and convenience, I thought I would just take a moment to reflect on just a few of the things I love about living in China. Here goes it:
I love that Chinese people are not overly concerned about what they wear.
I love that age is not an excuse for laziness or loneliness.
I love the way they love children. And the elderly.
I love that goats are just a part of life.
I love that they wear red wedding dresses.
And pose for wedding photos in the most peculiar of places.
I love that community is valued and treasured.
I love that you can buy cherries (and…well basically anything) out of the back of a cart.
I love that they bike.
I love that they make delicious dumplings.
I love that you can order a “f@$*ing good coffee” without offending anyone.
I love that they invent (and wear without a hint of irony) the most random things.
I love the layers and textures
I love that they gather in parks to dance.
I love that when they dance in parks, they sometimes wear scarves over their entire face.
I love that even their monks take selfies.
Update on the photo below: I have been very politely informed that this monks in this photo are, in fact, not Chinese. But can we just pretend that they are? I really like this photo. ;)
I have a friend who says that China operates on the 1:10 rule. For every 10 minutes, you will see at least one interesting thing.
I think it is true…as exhibited by my favorite China picture to date:
Yeah. China dude. I love it.
And while I am ready to have a little break from you, China…I’m not ready to quit you. Not yet.