The Holiday Season has beckoned me back to the United States. As much as I loved China, and believe that it is a better place than the States in many ways, it is good to be back home.
After a couple of days being back Stateside, I realized that there were many small conveniences that I missed. As I make my transition to life in America, there are a few things that make the process a bit easier:
Diversity is a good thing, according to the political left. It may be ironic to say this, but I liked living around primarily Chinese people. Ethnic diversity is not really what I’m against personally though; it is the aggressive nature of Americans in general and the lack of attractive women. There was one diversity that I found it somewhat difficult to live without in the Middle Kingdom, however.
Whenever I went to a fast food restaurant in China, the only sauces that were offered were sweet and sour, ketchup, and a type of sweet hot sauce. Some restaurants only had ketchup.
Here in America, we have plenty of dipping sauces to contribute to high cholesterol and obesity. Delicious ranch sauce, a plethora of spicy condiments, and more are offered at fast food joints in the States. It feels good to be home.
The Gym and Whey Protein
With all of those extra calories from dipping sauces, getting in the gym is a necessity. Gyms in China were prohibitively expensive, costing up to ten times the amount that I pay here at home. To make matters worse, the equipment was often lacking, and the hours were very inconvenient. Whey protein was also very expensive, making it difficult to maximize my fitness.
These are not excuses since there were plenty of ways to stay in shape, but whey protein and a proper gym make things more efficient for me. The fitness industry is picking up in China, and more people go to the gym as compared to two years ago, but it is still considered a luxury rather than a necessity to many.
Soft Toilet Paper
Maybe it was just me being a cheapskate, but all of the toilet paper in China was either thin, hard, or both. Taking my first dump after coming back home was a shock to my backside (pause). The toilet paper in America is much thicker and softer than that in China. Given the effect that some of the food had on me there, American toilet paper would have been very useful. Thinking about it, it probably would have clogged the toilets.
While I like learning Mandarin, it can be frustrating speaking a foreign language. Even if one is doing a passable job at it, it seems to add additional stress that would not be present when speaking one’s native language. As much as I hate having to press ‘1’ to speak English, I have to tip my hat to people that operate in a foreign language.
Unrestricted Internet Access
Although using a VPN helped me to access Google, Twitter, and other sites that are blocked in China, it often slowed my connection and was not up 100% of the time. Being able to access the Internet without restrictions makes life a lot easier. Baidu, Bing, and Yahoo are alright, but nothing really beats Google when it comes to getting the desired results.
Life in China was a life-changing experience. No, I did not have a spiritual epiphany or learn Kung Fu and go completely native. My experience in China helped me to develop confidence in myself, having finally found a place where I am appreciated. It is my intention to maintain that confidence into the new year, even in America.