The whole truth about life in China first-hand

Categories: Asia |

Julia Chervo lives and works in China, so she knows firsthand about the everyday life of the inhabitants of the most numerous country in the world. Read her story about life in the Middle Kingdom. Some facts are striking.

The whole truth about life in China first-hand

I am trying to understand China by the example of a small (by Chinese standards) county town of four million people in the southwest of China. The city is called Guiyang, it is located in the province of Guzhou — for some time now I have been working there as a teacher of Russian. These are my observations, please do not throw rotten tomatoes at me if something is wrong.

The whole truth about life in China first-hand


So, I get to know China by living, working, and communicating with the local population as much as possible (if you can call communication poking your finger at pictures of food and inarticulate sounds like moo, which I make when trying to copy an electronic dictionary, in the hope that someone will identify at least some familiar word for the Chinese ear). 

By the way, the sounds I dared to make only after I could no longer look at the instant noodles from the store. Hunger is not an aunt, and the smells of food beckon from all sides (smelly tofu does not count — this product smells so strange that I do not breathe at all when passing by). The first experience of self-buying food was successful — I spent only 10 minutes on explanations, four electronic translators were involved: mine, the person taking the order, the visitor and the cook, but the result was worth it — I received freshly prepared homemade food and even avoided burning the esophagus, since the usual food in Guzhou is not spicy, but mega-fast. They grow chili peppers here, so they eat them by the kilo. 

China is food. The population can be classified as follows: 50% prepare food, and the remaining 50% eat. They eat everything, always and everywhere. The Chinese go with thermos flasks, bags, plates, bowls, chopsticks. And they eat, and they eat, and they eat again. And when they don't eat, they talk about food. The second France.

The whole truth about life in China first-hand

Pajama party

Pajamas are very common clothing in China. You can meet whole families walking around in pajamas and slippers. Some people replace their slippers with other shoes, but the pajamas remain unchanged. It looks like people are coming back from a big pajama party. 

Pajamas of all colors and styles, furry and quilted, with mice, bears and cats. And this is cool for adults! 

The whole truth about life in China first-hand


High-heeled shoes are an integral part of the women's toilet. With bows, lace, rhinestones, beads, pendants and do not ask what else.

The whole truth about life in China first-hand


This is real fashion. You can't be on trend if you don't wear armbands. Armbands are not only a useful thing that prevents wear and soiling of the sleeves, but also an accessory that should emphasize your personality: beads, lace, lurex rhinestones, fur…

The whole truth about life in China first-hand

Women's tights

Such a riot of fantasy is impossible to imagine. Who said tights should be boring? The squeak itself is an insulated version on the batting, covered with a black mesh. 

The whole truth about life in China first-hand


Rhinestones, guipure and lurex-without this, clothes are not clothes. The squeak of the season — leather shorts on women after 50, silly inscriptions on clothes, hair color "extreme eggplant" and "six-month chemistry". Of course, there are people who dress normally, i.e. normally in our understanding, but most strongly experiment.

The whole truth about life in China first-hand


All the people in China are constantly patting, stroking, tapping and pinching themselves. To do this, they sell all sorts of things. But usually the Chinese do not use them, but clap and pinch themselves with their hands — they do self-massage. Almost every home has a massage room, mainly for foot massage and pedicure.

The whole truth about life in China first-hand

Belches and spits

They belch and spit. Savory and in a good mood, to the point of victory, because "you can't keep any nasty stuff in yourself!". They try to spit on the side (thank you!). In public transport, there are garbage buckets-they spit there. What a blessing that it is not under your feet. 

The whole truth about life in China first-hand


They trash a lot, but they also clean up. There are many cleaners who constantly sweep and wash the asphalt with soap (the government takes care of the employment of poorly educated segments of the population). Children are taught to throw garbage in the trash, children do it with pleasure. As a rule, most of the garbage and do not comply with the rules of the "socialist hostel" residents of villages, provincials — well, this is also found in our country.

The whole truth about life in China first-hand

My Chinese

Noisy, friendly, very caring-good! They always try to understand you and help you in any way they can, they will not leave you in trouble. They look calm, but they're actually very temperamental when it comes down to it. It's just that they don't really show their emotions. 

From young to old, they walk around with huge phones, constantly buried in them. They talk on the phone very loudly (features of the tonal system of the language). If you take away the phones, I don't even know what will happen to China.

The whole truth about life in China first-hand


That's right! Tea is drunk everywhere and always. Cold and hot. Everyone has their own personal mini-thermos with tea. During the day, boiling water is added there. Boiling water in China can be found everywhere for free. 

The whole truth about life in China first-hand

Boiling water

The surest remedy for all diseases. This is not a joke. If you go to a doctor, most likely, you will be prescribed rest and warm water inside. All foreigners living in China know this. Warm boiled water is served always and everywhere. A signature Chinese drink. 

The whole truth about life in China first-hand


There are a lot of children. In China, a second child was allowed. Children are constantly carried on their hands and in backpacks. Strollers use little. Nannies with children are mostly grandparents, it looks very touching. And parents earn money. The Chinese have a small maternity leave — 8 months, because it is considered unfair that the entire financial burden falls on one family member.

The whole truth about life in China first-hand

Pants with a slit

Now, very often, not a naked ass, but a diaper, sticks out of a slot in children's pants, but there are enough buttocks. It is strange to the European eye to see naked babies walking around in such a bold form in cold weather, but it is not necessary to teach them to the pot. 

Yes, hats are also quite rare. It's +4 in the yard, and a baby with a bare head and a bare ass. And I have not heard that the local children are overcome by a cold or ear-throat problems. 

Children, by the way, are dragged everywhere with them, even to a nightclub, where everyone is smoking mercilessly, music is yelling, and babies are sleeping peacefully. Thanks to this hardening, the average Chinese can sleep anywhere, in any position and at any time of the day.

The whole truth about life in China first-hand

Public transport

The public transport system is perfectly developed, at least in the place of my temporary residence. Routes and travel times can be tracked using a special mobile app. By the way, it is also very easy to specify the cost of a taxi ride. 

The system of private transportation also works — there are a lot of taxis, of course, but not enough for everyone. Interestingly, usually a taxi is cheaper than a private taxi, but this is if you are the first passenger, and if you are hooked (and this is the norm), then you go at the price named by the taxi driver, and not by the meter. 

The bus fare is 2 yuan, which is about 18 rubles. When using public transport, you need to know that you will not be given change, since you do not give money to the driver, but throw it in a special container, so you need to take care of the little things in advance or take the change yourself from the new arrivals. 

Keep in mind that the Chinese begin to actively move to the exit at the stop only when the bus stopped and opened the door, and at the exit there is a lot of people who are not going to leave, but do not consider it necessary to give way, so the locals know how to work with their elbows and knees. 

The whole truth about life in China first-hand

And more

If a Chinese man, walking along the avenue, decided to scratch his nose and think about the eternal, then nothing will make him stand aside — he will freeze in bliss right there, in the middle of the pedestrian flow, form a traffic jam, but everyone will bypass him, and there will be no swearing. 

In some ways, they are very similar to us, but, of course, quite different. But are we all supposed to be the same?

Keywords: China | Asia | Chinese | Everyday life