It's been a long time since I stepped off the plane in August 2005.  I was planning on just staying for a year, travel around, experience a new part of the world, then head back to start my "real life."  Now here I am, with a wife, house, and baby on the way (2 more months to go!).  It's actually been a pretty smooth 5 years, with a few bumps here and there but like anything in life, if you give it some effort, things usually turn out okay.

Of course I miss the States, my friends and family, etc.  So that's why I compiled this 5-year list.  I'm sure a lot of you can empathize :-).

Things I miss, in order of importance:
- Live music.  I was all about the rock concerts and underground shows, particularly during my college years.  I know music scenes exist around China but there is nada where I live now.  What I wouldn't give for a good circle pit and 150 dB....
- Sports.  I'm not really athletic but I enjoy the vibe of sports culture.  Though "rabid sports fanatics" could be filed under "Things I Don't Miss."
- Cool cars.  Who doesn't like cool cars of all shapes and sizes?  Apparently not Chinese people.
- Multiple ethnicities/skin tones/languages/food.  China is probably the least diverse place on earth per sq. km.

Things I Don't Miss, in order of importance:
- American arrogance.  The main reason I left America was the attitude... so many people self-absorbed, in love with their own opinions and the sound of their voice as they bellowed these opinions to anyone around; the eagerness to challenge others; to pick a fight, physical or verbal; looking for any excuse to flaunt one's individuality/uniqueness, no matter how trivial.  Americans take themselves way too seriously, and it usually has nothing to do with America itself.  They're so in love with their freedom that they need to continually reassure themselves by looking for challenges to their freedoms/rights, when in the end, no one gives a damn.
- Rabid sports fanatics.  You know what I'm talking about.
- Fat peoples' attitudes.  Nothing against fat people, but you can stuff your bitterness and complexes.
- Oversensitivity.  No one in America can call a duck a duck for fear of offending someone.  Don't be mean, just be real.

The truth is, I feel more American and more free in China than I did back in America.  And for this reason, I try to be mindful of this gift and not abuse my freedom here.  It's easy to exploit China, on multiple levels, but what kind of American would I be if I misused the thing that we Americans prize most?

06/14/2010 06:31

Hey, I didn't realize you were still actively posting after you switched sites. This is a great list, though. The arrogance issue is a big one for me, too. I sometimes fall back into this old habit, but the time I've spent in China has done a lot to help me improve as a person.

06/15/2010 06:46

I think arrogance is an innate trait for us Americans, but it can be tempered :-). Of course, that's part of our charm though, right?


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