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Habits I've Picked Up In China

September 2020 will mark 2 years of me living in China! I know they say time flies when you're having fun, but time for me seriously just zoomed past in the blink of an eye. So far, China has been a decision I don't regret (like 90% of the time) and I really do love living here on the whole. Exploring a different culture, learning a new language, and just being far away from everything I know and am used to is an experience I'll be grateful for for the rest of my life, honestly.

With living in a new place comes adopting certain habits and behaviors like the everyone else who lives here. I've found myself doing these things without realising, and it only took another person pointing it out to me for me to realise that I'm changing bit by bit.

1. Hot water all day, everyday!
I seriously live for hot water, and I'm now so used to it  I can't really drink cold crisp water anymore. Hot water is the standard here, whether you're in a restaurant, an office, at the police station, hot water will always be available at the water dispenser. I sip on hot water all throughout the day; when I just wake up, in class with my flask (the water dispensers at my uni actually only give hot water!), after my meal, and right before bed a few cups will just hit the spot. Hot water has a lot health benefits like helping with digestion and hydration better than cold water, so I know this is definitely a habit for life. I like to add different things too, like lemon slices, dried jujube or ginger.

2. If food isn't spicy what's the point?
My province is known for having some seriously spicy food. I worried about that before coming here because we don't cook spicy food at home, but now I'm here it's just another thing I'm used to. A lot of classmates were actually sick when we first came, but I've been absolutely fine since day 1! I've become so accustomed to eating chilli with every meal, even breakfast foods can have a little kick to them, so I honestly don't like food if there isn't even a little bit of chili in there. Whether I cook something or buy something online, it now needs to have a kick to it.

3. Trying to haggle every chance I get
Another thing that's just standard here is haggling prices when you're out and about. It was so awkward at first because my Chinese was non-existent when I just came here, but I'd at least attempt trying to bargain before giving up pretty quickly. Vendors actually expect foreigners to haggle prices, and you can get some pretty good deals if your Chinese is good enough. I once landed a dress that went from 100 yuan to only 60!

4. Not saying 'thank you' to a compliment
I didn't realise that us who are from the west say thanks to a compliment and return it, but here in China people, especially girls, say 哪里哪里 (nǎli nǎli), which is like "you're too kind", and never actually thank you. Even if someone compliments me in English, it's become a habit to just respond in Chinese!

5. Chinglish
I love adding Chinese words to my sentences because some words in English just don't hit the spot quite as well as ones in Chinese, especially 麻烦 (máfan) and 差不多 (chàbuduō). Every single "hang on a minute" or "wait for me" is 等一下 (děngyīxià), and simple phrases like "I'm hungry/sleepy/thirsty" are now just automatically thought of first in Chinese. Sometimes I'll be on the phone with someone from back home and add in random Chinese words only to realise they have no idea what I'm talking about (lol I'm so sorry). I think as my Chinese improves, it'll only keep happening more and more often which I think is pretty cool.

I think as time goes on, I'm going to have even more Chinese habits under my belt. It's only been a year and a half, so we'll see what the future has in store for me!

Which habits did you pick up when you lived abroad?