4 Awesome Things About Living In China

That I’m missing right now

I was contacted recently by HiFX to contribute to their campaign for providing tips for future expats. I, being the crazy person that I am, have decided to write about what I’m missing in China, to show that this wonderful country still has an effect on me. Hopefully one day someone will read it and think yeah, that sounds like the place I’d like to be an expat in!


4. The Language

Believe it or not, I actually began to understand Mandarin, yes, some of those dainty little picture characters were legible to me, helping me communicate during my day to day life. Knowing the language made me so comfortable in my life in China, it broke down barriers and I could sit anywhere and still be able to have a brief conversation with someone.

The translations are hilarious too.

bad english translations in beijing

Love, love, love Chinglish translations

I’m trying hard to get a job in Queenstown right now where even just the Mandarin I know will be of benefit to a job, just so I can keep it up and not lose it.

3. Day-to-day life

Life in New Zealand is pretty similar to life at home, there aren’t many things which can surprise me. True, there are interesting quirks in New Zealand, but it’s not like China where I can swear that I saw something new, interesting or funny every day for 2 years.

2. Chinese transport

I loved travelling on all the forms of transport available in China, whether it was taxi, train, bus or plane. One of my favourite train rides was when I met a random Russian; one of my favourite trips by plane was to Guilin to meet up with Agness and Cez or to Beijing to meet up with Beka; my favourite bus ride was to meet up with a colleague and stay with her family for a few days.

A random Russian who looks Chinese!

A random Russian on the train in 2011 – he looked Chinese!

1. Chinese Food

Oh, the dishes you’ll see! This will always be number 1 on any list of awesome things about China. I know a lot of people are skeptical about Chinese food. It’s seen that we’re given the “safe” option at takeaways across the Western world, which is pretty true. However Chinese cuisine is so much more than what we can get at home. There’s sweet, spicy, meaty, vegetable, tofu dishes galore (although I still do stay well away from the tofu) and so much choice. You can have noodles or rice, or stew or hotpot. I’m salivating just thinking about it now.

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Author: Bennett

2 years as an expat in China and now doing the same in New Zealand, Bennett sure likes to experience "slow travel!"

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  1. Sounds like several great reasons to visit China. I have been wanting to visit Asia for some time now. I hope that one day I am able to explore the best of it. Food, language, and just general culture that you mention. I’d be really excited too if those little characters started to make sense to me.

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    • Sorry Andy your comment got spammed but I’ve rescued it now!
      Asia is a great place but a lot of people do miss out on China which is a shame. Hope this inspires you to go one day though.
      And yes, it’s very exciting when everything starts to make sense!

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  2. I love the new slider Sarah and I see you like it too :). I am leaving China in 9 weeks and I will truly miss the same things – from local transport to Chinese food which is so so so good. Guess what I had for my dinner yesterday! Noodles very similar to those we had in Guilin omomomomo :D!

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    • Amazing!!!
      Those noodles in the pics are from Guilin but before you guys arrived 😀
      This new slide show is great and I think I’ll use it a lot 🙂

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  3. The translation mistakes make me chuckle and remind me of when I didn’t know any English and I was the one making those kind of mistakes. The noddles in the photo look so good, I miss Asian food so much. I had some Chinese kind of food whilst in Taiwan but never had dishes from the mainland China because I haven’t been yet.

    Post a Reply
    • Franca, it was my hobby to collect these translation mistakes in China, loved them! Taiwanese food is pretty good, similar to Chinese – my favourite Taiwanese food was something called “shou zhua bing” – we had a lot in Zhangzhou because Fujian province is very close to Taiwan.

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  4. Chinese translations are often fun. I’m thinking of putting together a post of the funniest “lost in translation” signs I saw on my 2 weeks in China! And I’m also waiting for a “4 things I don’t miss” post about China 😉

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    • I’ve a fair few posts on here Tim under that subject! Let’s compare 😉 I will definitely be thinking about that second post too.

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  5. I’m not totally fluent in Mandarin, but being able to read the characters feels so awesome–like I’ve unlocked a “code” of some kind!

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    • Yes! That’s exactly it, Rachel! And all you need is a little bit of the code to work out much more 🙂

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  6. Sounds like a good idea to visit China. It is at the end of my list of countries to visit, but maybe I could be convinced by posts like yours to go there sooner.

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    • Hi Jo – so glad to hear you enjoyed my post. China is a seriously underrated country in my opinion and I really don’t think you’l be disappointed by a visit there! 🙂

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