Home Country

Soon we will be heading home for a few weeks, well our home country. Our home is here in China, but we are from Canada. Overseas we talk about where we are from as ‘home country’. I can’t believe a whole school year is done! Someone asked a bunch of us what will you most look forward when going  home? Well besides the obvious of seeing friends and family what do you miss most?

Think about it what would you most miss if you couldn’t have it for weeks or months? It may sound silly, but one of the things I most miss is coffee, real coffee! We can get many Western things here and many taste, smell and look the same as home. Coffee here comes in premixed powdered packets… no brewing, just add hot water. It makes do, but just doesn’t taste the same. Starbucks is everywhere, but it is so strong… even with a million sugars and half full of milk (they don’t really do cream) it is strong enough to peel paint off your car. Not enjoyable at all. At Christmas I waited in a very long line, out the door for a cup of Tim Hortons coffee, double double. A man in front of me laughed how so many people were waiting so long for coffee. I explained for me it was 5 months, so worth the wait. The first sip was worth it….

Another thing I really miss is some of the familiar smells from home. Here you have the lovely blossoms in the spring, but that is short-lived. Often you smell strong chemicals used for cleaning, so strong they burn your nose and throat. That can’t be good! You also smell horrible sewer smells, especially in the heat. I still can’t figure out why one day it doesn’t smell and the next day it is like an outhouse filled with sewage!

We miss Swiss Chalet Chicken… fresh-cut fries and the sauce…. yum yum! Can’t wait to have my fill. At Christmas I think we ate there 3 nights in a row! The Chinese love chicken, but there is nothing close to Swiss Chalet! It’s funny how walking down the street you see random chicken bones discarded on the sidewalk. They LOVE chicken wings here, but they don’t eat them with fingers like we do. They poke through the meat with a fork or chopstick and eat it that way. Makes sense and much cleaner too!

Sounds… hearing the sound of English and knowing what people are saying will be nice. Although the Chinese blends into the background and it sounds natural to me now. I do wish I could understand more. I have enough to get me around, but still it would be nice to understand and converse more with people. I think one of the things I miss is the quiet… here there is always beeping, fireworks, dogs barking, people yelling…. something. Again it something you get used to and block out. It isn’t too bad, but when you are trying to sleep it can be annoying. It has been comfortable weather and I have left the patio doors open at night and the chirping of frogs has kept us awake! When we come back it will be the cicadas. I wonder what it will be like to hear nothing but silence?

Space! Going home will be different as there will be open, bare spaces and no crowds. It will be a nice change to be able to go around without getting bumped and pushed aside. There can be open space, but people still crowd you. I guess they are used to it and need to be close!

It’s the little things that make home special.

Niagara Falls, a Canadian Icon            

Stay tuned… next blog will be from Canada!


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2 thoughts on “Home Country

  1. Freda Goulet

    Great blog, Diana. Reviewing all the things you have written about, I think the lack of personal space would bother me the most. I don’t like to feel crowded. The constant noise might be second on my list.
    Have a safe trip home, keep in touch.
    Aunt Freda

    • Like anything else you adapt and change until it is a part of normal life. It is something you don’t enjoy, but accept… it will be nice to have a bit more personal space. We are lucky because we are in Pudong and it is greener with more open spaces than Puxi, the main part of Shanghai. Its when you go near the subway you feel like a sardine on the train and a rat in a maze in the stations. I don’t have to do it too often, so that is a relief! Take care and see you soon.

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