Friday, April 17, 2009

Some of the more... pleasant... parts of living in China

So, I hope everyone who reads this blog doesn't think that I hate it here. We actually are really having a blast! Its just that I usually blog about the funny/unusual things about living abroad, so just laugh with me as I laugh my way through the oddities of China! =)

Hawking
So spitting seems to be a universally uniting commonality among the Chinese. Having someone hawk up a big one and spit right in front of you is like saying "Good morning! How are you today?" I know people in the States spit too -- its just that it is usually quietly done into a Kleenex or toilet in the privacy of the bathroom. Here, spiting is a very public thing that REQUIRES a loud, guttural hawking to take place prior to discharge. If its not loud, it surly cannot be effective. Sam and I are privileged every morning during breakfast to hear our neighbor walk down the hall, hack a big one, and spit it in the hallway. It always makes my breakfast more appetizing. Everyday we pause, listen, grimace, and then laugh, shaking our heads at the life we have chosen to live!

Wake up and smell the...
Another daily morning occurrence is walking out from our apartment, looking at the beautiful day, and inhaling a big fresh breath of... STENCH! I'm not sure why is must REEK to high heaven, but China is just a stinky place! It is second nature to me now to hold my breath anywhere near any and all grates in the ground. But even with this precaution, I am often out, minding my own business, when I am suddenly sucker-punched with a whiff of something from who knows where that makes me want to throw up the baby! China smells really bad!!

Serenade
So for a very long time we thought we had a mentally disabled neighbor who would come out and pace the hallway wailing, barking, whining, and otherwise making VERY strange sounds. Of course, we were understanding of anyone with a disability. However, after a few months of listening to our "handicapped" neighbor, I decided I just HAD to take a peek at who he was. Upon slipping my head out the door, I was surprised to learn that this man was not disabled, but was just an old grandpa walking the halls with his baby grandchild in arms. What?! A "normal" person makes noises like that!? And at top volume in an apartment complex with very sound-permeable walls?! On top of that, I had never before heard the baby make a noise - so his howling hardly seemed necessary to "calm" the kid. It is as though the man wails so that the child cannot think about wailing itself. I wish I had a recording so you could hear for yourself how VERY odd these sounds are...

When all should be asleep
Last night Sam and I were all snuggled in bed ready to let sleep take us, when we heard a drum begin to beat above us. Keep in mind, its pretty late. Okay, so we try to ignore whoever is drumming upstairs. Then another sound, this time in the hall, greets our ears -- Hammering. Hammering?! Who decides to start hammering something in the hall at after 11 at night?! So after listening the the alternating bangs of the hammer and drum for a few minutes, Sam and I just looked at each other and laughed!

6 comments:

Laura said...

Oh Amy, I LOVE reading your stories. I know you're happy there, but there are definitely oddities about that place. Keep them coming, they're hilarious to read!

Chris and Amanda Beckstead said...

Sam and Amy! I had no idea that you were in China! (That tells you how good I am at keeping up with old friends.) Since I haven't done a good job of keeping up I have to ask... Why are you in China? School? Work? Fun? All of the above? I hope that you are doing well. And way to go on the baby front! I am just finding blogs from old high school friends and everyone is pregnant! Feel free to check out out blog at www.chrisandamandaswonderyears.blogspot.com
Keep the posts coming, we are excited to hear about more of your adventures!

Pam Drennan Brooks said...

Amy,
China may stink but with pregnancy so does everything else.

Sutter Family said...

amy, the way you write everything is so funny. I had to read out loud to Chris the part about throwing up the baby.

Kelly said...

I never seemed to think you didn't like it there. I have been amazed at what really positive attitudes you guys have, all the while thinking, I would've caught a plane back home by now!! I love when you write about what's going on there. There are definitely some ODDITIES about that place. Hilarious. Thanks for sharing

Tawny said...

I don't know why I didn't think of out-wailing the baby. That might come in handy right now since she's teething...Thanks for the suggestion! Gee, the the Chinese have a lot to offer! Keep the tips coming!