* I originally wrote the following on my side blog a few years ago. p.s. I hope you enjoy my little friends in the picture. It was priceless turning the camera back on them! 🙂 [picture taken on my last trip to China]
- You will love it here. You will hate being here for the first 3 months, but you will grow to love it. You will start to pick up every single mannerism that once annoyed you. Clap for yourself – the transformation is almost complete.
- After being here for more than 6 months, you will no longer beg friends with every foreigner you see, in fact, you’ll walk right past them and start muttering mandarin to yourself.
- Rice, noodles and tea are your friends.
- Street food is the truth.
- Your female colleagues wonder why you are 24 with no boyfriend or husband.
- You will be given a Chinese name.
- You will be rejected from every single mosque if you’re not muslim. Don’t even bother donning a hijab, burqa, niqab or whatever you attribute with “muslim dress” to fool them, you little liar.
8. People will probably touch your skin (if you’re black)
9. People will probably stroke your hair (if you’re black)
10. People will probably shout “African!” at you (if you’re black)
11. You will be charged 3 times more than a Chinese person in markets and taxis.
12. Haggle, haggle, haggle.
13. Your white friends will be more likely to be approached by recruiters for English teaching jobs – your thick skin will be impenetrable at the end of your stay.
14. Ignore those who say learning Chinese characters isn’t important. The fools! The infidels!
15. People stare and point, even the dogs. Get used to it.
16. You will get lost and cry a little.
17. Groups of women will dance outside at 10pm. Don’t judge it, just roll with it.
18. No-one waits for you to come off the tube. Noone.
19. People will sneak pictures of you, then giggle hysterically. They have perfected this.
20. What do you mean you’re “black and born in England”? You were born in America or Africa, ok!
21. Men expose their rounded bellies in the heat. Their T-shirt will resemble a crop-top with baggy arms.
22. There is no space to dance in Chinese clubs. You’ll also develop tinnitus.
23. It is common to see whole families perched on one motorbike.
24. KTV is the truth.
25. People spit everywhere. You will never get used to it.
26. Taxi drivers will speak at you a mile a minute.
27. Babies may cry when they see you.
28. Chinese friends will invite you to their houses, feed you and give you gifts. Cherish them for life.