Just over 6 months ago, I moved back to America. They day before I left, a good friend of mine helped me write a list of things that I thought I would miss about living in China and a list of things that I thought I would like about living in America again.
I thought I’d share these lists and my reflections now that I little time has passed. Here’s the first list.
10 Things I miss about living in China (in no particular order):
1. My roommate and other good friends. (I really do miss you all so much!)
2. The international community. (There is something special about being a 外国人 “foreigner” that brings people together.)
3. Good rice. (I remember I found myself craving a bowl of steaming white rice my second day in America.)
4. Good Chinese food. (Thankfully, I’ve had some good Chinese meals since I’ve been back.)
5. Not feeling like your clothes have to match. (Perhaps this was just a result of living in a place where you have to wear so many layers, it doesn’t matter what you wear, just that you stay warm.)
6. Communicating in Chinglish. (I don’t have to miss this one, I do this at my job and at church!)
7. Walking arm in arm – in China it’s culturally appropriate for good girl friends to walk around linked arms, and it was sometimes necessary to navigate the icy streets of Harbin. (So far, I’ve remembered I was in America and stopped myself every time I’ve thought to do this.)
8. The sounds of the city – like the door-to-door peddlers, knife-sharpeners, and recycling collectors who peddle around on bikes singing their advertisements early in the morning. (Now I can wake up to the sound of birds, an equally enjoyable sound.)
9. Public transportation. (Despite the crowding, I’d still choose this over having to drive everywhere.)
10. I actually didn’t have a ten on my original list, I think I’d written down “Food 2x” because my friend and I were waiting hungrily for our 大盘鸡 (a chicken dish from Western China) served, and because I really do love most Chinese cuisine. Now, after a few months of reflection, I have a real number ten: I realized I miss teaching. This is something I thought I wouldn’t miss because I felt it was time to do something else. Yet now, I do miss it. I miss the feeling of a lesson going well and actually having taught something to someone. And I miss the interaction with students.