Having lived in China for a good few years, there are many things I love about this magnificent country, though I hardly ever say so. Today I'd like to share a few special reasons which make living in China so special. So, pull up a chair and have a listen.
I've got to mention the people first. Throughout my time here in China, I've met so many truly amazing people that it would be impossible to name them all. Nevertheless, each and every one of them has made my life in China a real pleasure. What is it that is so special about those people? Well, they've been welcoming, helpful, super-friendly, selfless, caring, loving and nurturing. I've met so many interesting people and learned so many incredible things. I'm truly in love with the people.
2. The Language
How could I not love Chinese? I've been studying it for almost seven years and while it's been a rollercoaster of a ride, learning Mandarin Chinese has been the best choice I've ever made. Learning the language has given me the opportunity to interact with just about everyone, to truly understand and appreciate the culture, to be mostly independent and to feel comfortable. My favorite character has always been 福 (fú, means LUCK) although if you ask me why I couldn't tell you, I just like the look of it and whenever I see it somewhere I usually try to take a picture.
3. The Food
This one is kind of obvious, isn't it? How could I not love the food though? It's so, so, so good. Each region in China has different types of food and sampling them is almost like traveling to another country. The flavor and cooking styles vary so wildly, and exploring all the different cuisines is a pure joyride. My favorite food is Cantonese food, especially dim-sum but I'm also a huge fan of local food, especially all the different types of fish. Let's not forget the huge selection of fresh vegetables and exotic fruits available in the supermarket and small fruit shops all over the city.
4. Chinese Men
Sue me, but Chinese men are utterly handsome, funny and cute. Also, so many of them are very much the perfect gentleman. It's a really nice feeling when someone grabs your bag and offers to carry it without a second thought or when your male companion will get the bill after a delightful meal or pay for your coffee. Don't get me wrong, I also enjoy female independence and am a huge advocate of it but on the other hand I'm also a romantic at heart (although I do like to hide that fact) and it's nice when I guy does something for you whether you're in a relationship with him or not.
5. My Students
Among my students, I have a reputation for being strict because I really want my students to improve, to grow as a person and to be able to follow their dreams of studying abroad or a better career or whatever other reason pushes them to learn English. When they finish their studies and leave to pursue their dreams I feel sad like a mother who just dropped her child off at university and now returns home to an empty apartment.
6. Taobao / JD / Alipay / WeChat
Again, another given. China is so far ahead the rest of the world when it comes to online payments and online shopping that it's almost scary. I love the convenience of it all and it's become a big part of my life. China has changed e-commerce and the world should really learn from the Middle Kingdom.
7. The History
I love that there's a story behind almost everything in China. Be that the name of a lake, a tower or an idiom. China's history is rich and abundant and there's a lot I can learn. Sometimes I get confused, but I still remain curious and while I know it's impossible to know it all, I'm always happy when someone takes the time to teach me something new.
8. The Tea
You didn't think I'd say this, did you? Well, for anyone who knows how much I love coffee this might come a bit of a shock but I really do love Chinese tea, especially green tea and Pu'er Tea. When it comes to green tea, I really like those kinds of teas that have a light flavor, nothing too heavy. Thankfully many of my friends understand tea and are happy to share me some. I like just about everything about it. The flavor, the color, the taste.