Just to clarify: I made up the word in the title. That is not an official Chinese word, though the etymology of the word means “Changsha” (my city) and country. Now that we’ve got that out of the way…
There is so much going on in my head right now. I am “fresh meat” as one of the seasoned English teachers called me while we drank coffee on our afternoon break. It’s very true. So as a new American in China, I’m going to list some basic cultural differences that I’ve noticed thus far.
My primary note on Chinese culture is – what seems to me to be – complete lack of structure and regulations. It feels like anarchy. Drivers and cyclist weave all over the road as if the lines just don’t exist. Likewise, pedestrians just walk into the street when they want and cross as space becomes available. People standing in the middle of 3 lane highways is no big deal (and the drivers just weave around you—with inches to spare!). Waiting in line isn’t a thing here, and prices are also usually negotiable. Maps and bus schedules are rare, if they even exist at all.
School in China is indeed year round with hardly any vacations (so if you’re looking for the reason that the Chinese tend to be ahead of us academically—that would be at least part of it). The children at my school can already read and write in Chinese. However, let me burst the bubble that Chinese babies are inherently more well-behaved than American ones. These children do, in fact, act like little (adorable) demons several times a day. French children still have the prize so far for the most well behaved…but then again, I never worked in a French preschool!
And then some other fun/interesting observations.
- Weather in Changsha is even more ( or at the very least, equally) variable than in New England.
- The ‘normal’ toilet in China is a squatting one.
- All food in Changsha is extremely spicy. Whatever you think is spicy, multiply it three or four times and then you’re getting close to Changsha food. It is completely delicious, but it causes physical pain to my lips that lasts up to about 10 minutes after eating. Hopefully I can adjust to that!
Until next time!