Posts Tagged With: questions about culture

Under Pressure

Thank you to all the new readers, followers and “likes” I have picked up over the last few weeks as a result of the weekly photo challenge and the ABC award (thanks again Jennifer). As I sit here and watch my blinking cursor flash and wait to move across the page I feel the pressure to write something smart, fun, witty, clever and entertaining enough to keep you wanting to come back to my humble blog. With new popularity comes more responsibility and pressure to write and not just ramble on…

This blog was a result of coming to work overseas and keeping in touch with friends and family. I didn’t think I could do it, but with the encouragement from Amy and Mary I decided to give it a try. Each week I would have some hits and a few comments (thanks Freda & Leslie). The response that someone ‘out there’ was reading was enough to keep me going. I now enjoy writing and try to write something funny about our travel adventures so far from home. Writing has kept me sane as things don’t go as expected and common sense is not the norm here… experiencing these frustrations just make us giggle and say “now that will make a good story for the blog !”

I just reached a few blog milestones… 90 posts and 20 likes! Now this is #2 today. I did another weekly photo contest with the theme “through” be sure to check it out 🙂

So onto this week’s musings…

When we are away from home we sometimes get baffled by how different things are and experience culture shock. Some cannot handle the differences and complain about everything and question the diversity rather than revel in the experiences and soak up the culture. For some there is no place like home, but for others seeing what is out there is what gives us energy and excitement.  My husband and I are pretty open-minded travellers and rarely if ever have we been upset about the differences we experience in travel. The most important thing travelers must pack, and many forget, is an OPEN MIND.

In China even the simple things never work all the time or as planned. It is a part of life and you get used to it. Sure it gets frustrating when you hit print and go up 1 floor to retrieve your documents only to find it not there… When you switch on the light and it doesn’t go on… you go to have a shower and the city has shut off all the water for a few hours without telling anyone… But give it time and try again and it usually works the second or third time around.There are so many things we take for granted and until it doesn’t work we forget how easy we have it back home.

There are a few things that you sometimes cannot live without. No matter how much of an open mind you have there is somethings that you cannot compromise… mine is bathrooms and facilities. Going to a public washroom here you are taking your chances. Many are those little foot rests with a hole or if you are lucky enough to get a toilet bowl, chances are it won’t have a seat. Paper – forget it… you must carry little packs of tissues with you at all times! Stores sell those little 8, 10 or 12 packs of tissues like crazy! The smell is also disgusting. It always smells like sewer. Besides that you cannot flush paper here so the discarded tissue is in a basket or garbage can beside the toilet which doesn’t help the smell. For some reason the floor is always wet… I wondered why and if you watch the toilet habits here maybe it would explain a few things. Once in a long line for the ladies toilets a mother came rushing in and decided not to wait or ask to go next. Instead she pulled her kids pants down and she went on the floor! The cleaner yelled at her, but that did not matter. No one else batted an eye… common occurences? I guess so. A friend of John’s works for IKEA here and they said parents do the same in the store. They tell them that it is NOT OK, but they say my child had to go. I guess they don’t think ahead or make their child hold it until an appropriate location can be found. Children go wherever they are …

Traditional Split Pants

Traditional Split Pants

… street, store it does not matter. This is why those split pants come so in handy! Just last week at the grocery store a dad was holding his child over a potty! It looked like a little dog water bowl… I want to know where he emptied it! John once saw a man holding his son up to a garbage can and the child was like a mini ‘fountain’. It doesn’t stop there as grownups do the same. Many taxi drivers work 12+ hour shifts and use the bushes as their urinals, some places more than others… just use your nose and you can tell where. I am sure the street vendors do the same. Now I understand the street cleaners  and big water trucks that come and hose down the roads everyday.

Another thing we take for granted is toilet paper and tissues. They are not the same as home. Tissues are so thin you can see through them so god help you when you need to blow your nose. They try to trick you with the same name brands sometimes, but they are not comparable. Itchy, scratchy sand paper just doesn’t cut it… after trial and error we finally found one that is acceptable and although we are tempted by cheaper prices, or one on sale we have learned the hard way that it just isn’t worth it.

So what thing can’t you live without when travelling?

Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more…

 

Categories: Chinese Adventures, Culture, everyday occurances, post a week, social graces, strange adventures, travel, unique experiences | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Yes Canada has Thanksgiving!

This week was American Thanksgiving… and I have a bone to pick with expats here! Sorry lame joke…

There is a large American community living in Shanghai and they celebrate their Thanksgiving with traditional meals and friends and family like they would at home. What I found is how they are catered to… meanwhile Canadian Thanksgiving is ignored. SO many people are shocked we have one and then surprised it is not the same as they U.S. Thanksgiving.

This week at school we had a bake sale, selling pumpkin tarts, to raise money for charity. The cafeteria made turkey dinner and many restaurants do something as well. Only 1 restaurant, owned by a Canadian does something for Canadian Thanksgiving.

What bothers me is how we are just lumped into one category and Canadians are seen as Americans. Outwardly we look like Americans, have similar geography and share many items of popular culture. What makes us different though? Why are we so offended when we are referred to as American?

Is it enough to claim maple syrup and a colder climate is what makes us different? Is it our way of saying eh? Or maybe it is having 2 official languages… Why are we always overshadowed by our neighbours to the south and have less of an identity that speaks to the world? Why do we just let it happen? What makes us Canadian? What do you think?

Stay tuned for more…

Categories: Culture, post a week, travel, Uncategorized | Tags: ,