We are well into week three living in WS, Yunnan, and I believe this feeling is called mildly adjusted. Beautiful, new friendships here, letters from home, the occasional iMessage texting marathon, and good food have made our adjustment so much easier. (James and I both love Chinese food, but the slow discovery of PB&J and small snacks has made home, well, homier.)
Tonight, I finally started a workout regimen that was both breathtaking (scenery here, no pun) and butt-kicking, but more on that later. I have been finding joy in new relationships, specifically with a gorgeous, straight talking young momma that has naturally become my sister here in China. Today, I taught 2nd grade English & Grammar for the first time and loved every minute of it; which confirmed a recently resurfaced notion to get a linguistics minor. Watch out people, nerdy English lover here! And each day, I am moving away from my self-imposed, “You should be doing more!” pep talk in my head, to a slightly slower pace where I am finding relationships overflowing with encouragement and common interests.
Cab drivers suck. Eating is harder. Your body is in shock over altitude, severe diet change, and all around new lifestyles. Your mind makes you feel like every day is a week long and just when you think there is no end to the culture shock, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. You find a new friend to love or – even better – a Chinese baby or two.
So here’s a highlight reel of my favorite things about China this September:
#7 Best Weather for Bundling Up!
High altitudes bring severe temperature drops when the rain brings cloud cover for more than a day. Chilly weather is my favorite so digging out my boots & a jacket for a couple of days was a treat!
#6 Best Smelling…
I am not talking about the air here… harsh smells of China are hard to keep out.
Until you finally find a few yummy scented candles. This particular little betty smells like my Mom’s Chanel No. 5 perfume that filled the house with a classy, sweet scent throughout my childhood.
#5 Most Likely to Make Me Recite You’ve Got Mail:
“Harmless, harmless, meaningless… bouquets of sharpened pencils.” Enough Said.
#4 Most Nostalgic Nail Color.
My favorite nail color – Absolutely Shore, by Essie – that was given to me (& instantly stashed in my suitcase) the night before we left for China. It may be the only color I have, but I will wear it obsessively and it will not get old.
#3 Most Colorful City at Night.
Vegas aint got nothin’ on China.
Every building in the city lit with beautiful, changing and cascading colors.
#2 Best Treat, Near or Far
Every night after sunset, shao kao vendors hit the streets to start serving the BEST meal in China, period. End of Story. There is no arguing the glory and simplicity of every meat you can think of, an endless array of veggies, and open air grilling. And did I mention spices that will make you cry for your mommy? OH BABY! It’s good!
And topping this superlative list at No. 1
#1 Best Person to Travel the World With
Trusty leader and gentle husband. After putting up with my “adjusting” and constant culture shock for the past couple of weeks, he deserves a serious shout out.
There you have it… My favorite things about China this month. If my stories of adjustment had you thinking, “why would I ever try that?” Think again. It’s rewarding and trying in the same moment. Its a beautiful collision of shock and emotional highs.
But it wouldn’t be love without its ups and downs, now would it?