Earlier this week, I was talking to a few other expats about life in Chengdu. After living in China for nearly 3 years, there are so many things I take for granted now. “Watch the ground as you walk” and “check the AQI daily” are things I do not need to be reminded to do. I recently picked up the book Lost on Planet China by J. Maarten Troost and it reminds me how…surreal some of life here initially is to an outsider. As I read Troost’s words, I find myself continuously laughing and nodding. Yeah, yeah, that’s China…
Fellow educator and expat, Kelly, has done a great job capturing some of the more interesting aspects of China life. With her permission, I will be reprinting some of her observations from time to time to give you a look through the laowai (foreigner) lens at life here in Chengdu.
Nope, that isn’t a typo. The “poo” is there on purpose. Chubby little Chinese toddlers are about the cutest darned things ever created – until they urgently bend their knees and assume the toilet-squat position – right there on the sidewalk – where I stroll every single day. Usually grandma or grandpa is waddling along beside them and they stop to supervise; just as a dog owner would pause while Fido relieves himself on a tree. Same, same. Chinese toddlers and dogs.
It’s a fantastic way to potty train kids. When junior is suddenly ready to “go”, he just squats wherever he is. His pants are designed with a large split in the crotch allowing for everything to empty into the toilet, trash can, potted plant, the concrete sidewalk, whatever. No need for expensive, land-filling Pampers! It’s a cultural difference that takes some getting used to. Baby butts and baby twigs and berries just out there for all to see.
I have learned to NEVER step in puddles.
Words & Photographs by Kelly R