When you live in China, many days are special; some are fun, some are really difficult. China days are pretty shitty when they are happening, but pretty funny in hindsight. When you live in China, you create a new normal. Simple things take forever and in the beginning, you rely on other people to help you out a lot. In the beginning of our expat time in China, our China days were almost every day. But slowly, a China day would come along. Then it became weekly… and then monthly. Suddenly when you are least expecting it you might have a few China days in a row.
Remember that day? We just moved into our new apartment and I almost died with pain because of kidney stones? We ended up on the street at 7 am in the morning, trying to get a taxi to the closest hospital. Some taxis stopped, but it’s very common for taxi drivers not being able to read, so the first one kicked us out of the car. It’s also very common for taxi drivers not being able to read small print on your phone, so the second one kicked us out as his glasses were not strong enough to read the hospital address! We made it to the hospital and they gave me a huge drip of morphine and I was so happy to see the American ER doctor. Remember that horrible China day?
Remember when I got that job at an English parenting magazine? I would go into this Chinese office building and start writing at seven in the morning. After a few coffees, duty called and I went off to the office toilets for my morning business. The toilets were just holes in the ground, believe me when I say it’s quite a workout to do a number two when you are over a 100 kilos. Remember that day when your favorite scarf fell into your own poop? That was a fun China day.
Remember that day when you decided it would be fun to take a tuktuk home from the city? I was so happy and made so many pictures. What a tourist move not agreeing on the price beforehand and getting into a fight with the driver. Remember that he tried to keep you hostage and he scratched you on your arm? This time, my weight was a huge blessing as I managed to toss money at him and break open his door and run away. That was a scary China day.
Remember that day when the taxi driver took you to the wrong place and you pretended that was the right destination and just paid, got out, and walked into a strange building? This was one of the first days I started to understand what the saving face was all about. That was a funny China day.
Remember that China day when you came home late and you forgot to top up your electricity card and you had to get back outside with your three-year-old kid on your bike in the snow to find out that the bank where you can top up your card has suddenly disappeared? That was a cold China day.
Remember that China day when an old ayi tried to cut in front of you in line? That day when you had enough and you aggressively tossed your money in front of her and stood your ground? That was also the day when you also shouted at the barista for not having ice for your iced latte. The same place you behaved like a horrible expat? The day you expected the barista to speak English as the coffee place had an English menu? Remember that embarrassing China day?
Remember that first weekend you decided it would be good idea to go with a blond three-year-old to the Summer Palace and each and every Chinese person who saw you wanted to touch your daughter and take pictures with her? Remember when you lost your small Italian husband and daughter as they were surrounded by a group of Chinese people? Remember that weird China day?
I miss China Days…