We are back in China for about three weeks for a long awaited visit.
Coming back to China has been a shock. I’d love to start out saying how beautiful everything is, but after almost 3 years of not being in china, it’s hard to come back to it all. As soon as we landed in Qingdao we drove straight to my husband’s hometown, which is outside the main city and full of factories and construction. I immediately started coughing, sneezing, and my eyes started burning. One of the first things we noticed was that on this sunny morning, the sky was somewhere between grey and yellow.
My poor husband’s reaction surprised me, though I expected it to some degree. He didn’t remember China being like this.
He was proud of his hometown that has “mountains and water,” but now he sees it with more critical eyes than I ever did. The river is dark and ominous and everywhere is littered with trash. Dirt drifts in the air from the lack of grass and constant construction. There is an odor of either garbage, factories, or outhouses. The developed areas are full of people, but they are chaotic and the buildings though tall and new lack charm and character and are already starting to look aged.
After continuously reading Chinese news in America, especially the news you can’t read in China, he is afraid of eating the food and terrified of riding in a car. With such a high fatality rate in China for car accidents or even just the constant swerving through traffic and pedestrians, we can’t figure out why people cover the seat belts with seat covers so the seat belts are inaccessible. I try not to think about what I read in the news.
It’s also a culture shock. He can’t get over the constant cigarette smoke and inebriation. He cant stand that people unwrap something and simply drop the wrapper on the ground of wherever they are. His reaction to the bathrooms is almost as bad as mine when I first visited here; the cleanliness he remembers was honestly never there. Things I critiqued years ago, he is just now understanding and in an odd role reversal, I’m the one comforting him about the difficulties of staying at his hometown.
This trip is off to an interesting start as we try to get over this initial shock.
Another shock, my blog is blocked in China so everything about the trip was written on my phone and published retroactively.