Photo: Ryan Fung
You do not use a dryer to dry clothes.
First, you hand wash clothes to save energy. Second, you hang clothes out on the balcony to dry them under the sun. All your clothes are done in just a few hours and you do not have to worry about the dryer ruining them.
You can cook any dish with a pan and a rice cooker.
We do not have ovens and toasters at home. They use a lot of energy and the food they make is not healthy. Besides, a rice cooker and a pan are less time-consuming than an oven. There is no need to buy baking utensils and ingredients, and we do not even have to boil the hot water to cook rice, meat, vegetables, pasta soup, and potatoes.
You drink hot water and loose-leaf tea.
You used to drink hot water and herb tea in China to keep your body warm. Now, you have to deal with the frustration of having ice-cold water on a cold December morning.
You love to eat stir-fried tomatoes with eggs.
It is the first and the easiest dish you learned to cook, and it tastes delicious.
You have no problems pushing people when in crowds.
We do not have a concept of personal space and queuing, and most places are crowded. So when traveling on public transportation or purchasing something in a store, you have to shove and push to get what you need, or you will return home empty-handed after a long day suffocating in the crowds.
You ignore traffic laws.
If you drive, you do not wait at the red lights and yield to other road users. You honk your horn at them to ask them to get out of the way. No one cares if you run through the red lights or have honked your horns all day. If you walk, you do not wait for cars stop for you at traffic lights and pedestrian crossing, because they never will.
You are immune to noise pollution.
Your body has adjusted to the high level of noise everywhere, on the street, and in restaurants, parks, and shops. You walk into restaurants oblivious to the people sitting at the next table talking loudly to each other, and making noise with their silverware and dishes. The noise does not annoy you. In contrast, you feel awkward when you travel to a country in which public transport and restaurants are quiet.
You prefer to sleep on a hard mattress.
You cannot sleep on soft beds; you even got rid of your soft mattress to sleep instead on the bed frame. You immediately crushed out on your hard bed when you return home.
You recognize fake currency notes.
The first thing you do when you receive RMB50 and RMB100 notes is, to look at them under a bright light and check if the money is real. There are many counterfeit Chinese notes circulating around, and, at first glance, they all look real. It is always safe to check them before putting them in your wallet. Sometimes, you are surprised by the number of fake notes you find.
Wexin and WeChat have become a significant part of your life.
It seems like everyone in China has Wexin and WeChat, just like everyone in the USA has Facebook. You always stay tuned in to updates from your Wexin and WeChat account, even in the middle of important family dinners.
You are pressured to get married after graduating from university.
If you do not get married by age 30, you are labeled as a leftover, and you will be educated on the importance of establishing a family at every family and friend gathering. You will also preach others who are not married before 30.
You are fed up with the low efficiency of the medical care system in other nations.
In China, you went to the hospital, were seen by doctors, received your diagnosis, and got your medicine. Unless it was life-threatening, the whole process could take as short as 20 minutes. In other countries like Canada, you do not understand why you have to wait in the Emergency Room for three hours for a bad cold.
You purchase illegal software and DVDs.
Illegal software and DVDs, like video games, movies, and TV shows, are cheap and easy to find in DVD shops and stands. You’d go to the DVD shops so frequently you developed good relationships with the owners. Don’t like the DVDs you bought? Tell the owner and they would help you change and pick up your new favorite without any fuss.