Happy Thanksgiving, America!
Normally, I’d be working today, but our school (and apartments) are without water, so everything was shut down which has allowed for an awesome day so far. My internet (down for a few days) has been fixed and I had brunch with some coworkers. This is only my second year living abroad and, for the most part, I love it. But periodically, I start feeling intense nostalgia for all things stateside. I miss being able to drink water from the tap, seeing the sun on a usual basis, going to the regular grocery store for nearly all my shopping needs, and finding teaching supplies in abundance.
But because this is Thanksgiving, I wanted to write down a list of things I do love about living abroad. Although I’ve had a positive experience thus far…this list was not really that easy to compile. I think I’m just missing the idea of family gathering tonight…
Things I love about Chengdu, China:
- Togetherness. Chinese people spend a lot of time together, whether it’s dancing or exercising on the sidewalks or just playing cards. I love that at night, people don’t just go home and shut their doors. They play, they laugh, they wind down from the day together.
- Shoes. Okay, not really shoes (being as though they don’t exist in my size over here) as much as the removal of shoes. I love taking off my shoes at the door and slipping on “house shoes,” whether that’s slippers or flip-flops. It’s a great way to shake off the dirt and stress of the outside world. I’m home. This is my fortress. And now, I’m comfortable.
- Space. Bizarre to say in a city of 14 million, but in a 3-bedroom, 2-bath apartment, I have more space to myself than I have ever had in my adult life. Yes, I loved my townhouse in Virginia, but I’m a person that needs time alone to unwind and here…I have plenty of room for it.
- American Gardens. I really love this little area of China. It’s not the most happening place, perhaps, but I can walk to work and almost all my friends’ places in a matter of minutes. It gives Chengdu almost a small-town feel. I also like that so many buses go by this area, making it easy and cheap (though not necessarily fast) to get to Carrefour, Auchan, Ikea, and many, many restaurants and malls.
- Experiences. The thing I like most about being abroad is that I get to have modern Asian experiences that I never could in the states. One of the most recent things I got to do was take my class to a local Chinese school. There, we watched a Chinese opera, complete with men breathing fire and actors performing the feat of face-changing that is a staple in Sichuan opera. (I’ve attached two videos here. The first I took at the performance we went to and the second is just something I found online to explain more about the art form.)