unexpected immersion: my first week in china

Hello friends! I’m currently studying Chinese in the Yunnan Province of China.

Yunnan is home to a wide array of landscapes and ethnic tribes. It’s also the gateway into the Himalayas.

Of course the mountain girl picked this province.

I was surprised at how little culture shock I felt upon arriving here. That being said, China is a place like no other. I feel like it often gets a bad name, but it’s really lovely! Love it or hate it, it’s definitely a place to find an adventure in.

Just one week in, and I’ve already figured some things out.

Shopping in China is an experience.

I’ve been to both Carrefour and Walmart within the past week, both of which are nothing like what you’d expect of a Carrefour or Walmart. That being said, they have everything! Finding what you need, however, is like a scavenger hunt. There’s so much stuff! And once you find what you’re looking for, the translations scare you.

EVERYTHING has sugar in it.

Tomatoes, scrambled eggs, yogurt. It’s impossible to find anything unsugared. Except for tea (sugar in your tea is a disgrace).

China draws a certain kind of traveler.

The people I’ve met here thus far have all been the most adventurous, interesting, downright COOL people I’ve met. They love to explore off the beaten track destinations; they love to spend months traveling in one place and getting to know the culture and people of their temporary home. They’re the kind of travelers I look up to and want to be. Ugh so amazing.

I am getting SO good at Chinese (ha ha help me)

Not to brag, but I can say “I don’t speak Chinese” and “I am a foreigner” nearly FLUENTLY in Chinese.

Four hours of Chinese a day FLIES by.

While I could barely survive (slight exaggeration) a 2 hour Chinese class in high school, my lessons here go by so quickly. Maybe it’s because my teachers tailor what I learn to my interests, or maybe it’s the one – on – one interaction, but I’m so so glad that I actually like studying.

What seems simple will definitely not be.

I was told to buy my bus ticket at the post office. I went to the post office; the woman said she couldn’t do it. I went to another post office. Nope. I went to the bus station. I was told I needed to go to another bus station. It took me two days to do a task I thought would take 10 minutes.

Everything is cute.

I needed to buy a folder and an ipad case. This was all I could find.

I have an exciting next couple weeks ahead of me. More lessons, blog posts, and unexpected occurrences to come!

9 comments

  1. Haha, I can relate to almost everything in this post. I was surprised most by sugar in the bread! I could never understand that. Best of luck and go hike Tiger Leaping Gorge when you get the time. It was the best hike we did during our time in China.

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  2. Yep, China is definitely just so CUTE. The name of my toilet brush is “Blessedness Rabbit” (oy).
    If you decide to stop in Chengdu, perhaps on your way to seeing Tibetan mountains, please holler (because that’s where i reside & i have a spare room) ~your cousin chris

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    • Thank you, Chris! I unfortunately have to make a visa run at the end of my studies, but I’m definitely coming back to China! I have no idea where I’ll be as of now, but it would be so wonderful to see you 🙂

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