You know you’ve been in China too long when…

You know you have been in China too long when:
You start shaving your eyebrows and stop shaving everywhere else;
You don’t know the conversion between CNY and USD;
You send back ice water for hot water;
You have a stock pile of deodorant;

  • People ask you how young you were (几岁) when you moved to China

 

  • You start shaving your eyebrows and stop shaving everywhere else

 

  • You think American clothing is very plain

 

  • Everything you are wearing was purchased in China

 

  • You don’t know the conversion between CNY and USD

 

  • People ask you where you are from and you say the Chinese province/city where you live

 

  • Your English has a Chinese accent

 

  • You can speak at least one other dialect aside from Mandarin

 

  • You drink powder coffee

 

  • You can’t understand why the waitress brought you a fork and knife instead of chop sticks

 

  • You send back ice water for hot water

 

  • You throw out your self tanners and carry an umbrella in sunny weather

 

  • You talk about movies and music in terms of things that are popular (in china) and things you heard are popular in America

 

  • You like ankle hose with sandals and a skirt

 

  • Your favorite beer is named after a place in China

 

  • You think all occasions should be celebrated with baijiu 白酒 and beer

 

  • You think Great Wall wine is high class

 

  • You add 7-up 七喜 to your wine

 

  • You married a Chinese person

 

  • You consider not buying diapers for your children

 

  • You play ping pong and badminton on a regular basis

 

  • You hear someone say “laowai” and look around not realizing he/she is talking about you

 

  • You can’t remember how to drive a car

 

  • You think a balanced meal must have rice, noodles or mantou

 

  • You like rice for breakfast and eggs for dinner

 

  • Your Chinese friends ask you to bargain for them

 

  • You don’t look before you cross the road

 

  • You talk to strangers while you are using the bathroom

 

  • You have never heard of any of the new English songs at KTV

 

  • You get excited about mid-autumn festival but forget about Halloween

 

  • You write the date yyyy/mm/dd when you sign your name on English documents

 

  • You think of months in terms of 1-12 instead of Jan-Dec

 

  • You drink gan mao cha 感冒茶 (南方) or banlangen 板蓝根 when you have a cold

 

  • You think women must be married by 30

 

  • You don’t think it’s weird to speak to other westerns in Chinese

 

  • You have a stock pile of deodorant and other western luxuries (because you don’t know when you’ll go back)

 

  • You talk about the China before there were so many foreigners here

 

  • You remember China before Starbucks

 

  • You know why Qingdao beer is spelled TsingTao and think it’s odd other people can’t pronounce it

 

  • You know what CAN, PEK, TAO mean

 

  • You make fun of Chinese people who speak funny Mandarin

Talk on You know you’ve been in China too long when…


40 Comments
  1. So many of these explain me!

    Here’s 5 more…

    You know you’ve been in China too long when…
    fish hanging up in your living room draining the blood out of it into a dish doesn’t seem so strange anymore.

    You know you’ve been in China too long when…
    narrowly avoiding death ten times on the way to work on your bicycle seems normal.

    You know you’ve been in China too long when…
    you know the first couple questions every Chinese will ask you.

    You know you’ve been in China too long when…
    You start using chopsticks for everything at home. Even eating spaghetti!

    You know you’ve been in China too long when…
    your high school classmates see you at a party stateside and say something like, “haven’t you been in China for the past 10 or so years?”

      • I haven’t been in China very long (and definitely not too long), but I prefer to eat lots of things with chopsticks: French fries and salad. come to mind. Chopsticks are more, well… nimble.

  2. “You don’t look before you cross the road”

    That one has nearly killed me several times since my return to the States. Time to head back to China, I guess…

  3. Pingback: Chirpir News | You know you've been in China too long when… | Lost Laowai China Blog

  4. Pingback: You know you’ve been in China too long when… | Learn Chinese Characters

  5. uggg banlangen… that’s one thing that I dreaded as a child.

    oh and can someone explain the crossing the road thing? It bugs the hell out of me driving or walking in Toronto when pedestrians take their sweet ass time crossing the road.

    • I don’t know, people take their sweet ass time crossing the road in China too. They just don’t bother to wait for the signal.

      • Not looking before crossing seems wrong from even from a game theory perspective. I mean whatever the penalties for hitting a pedestrian for the driver, you’re still come out a loser in a collision no?

      • The loser will always be the one with the car. A nice car in fact. But then if you’re in the main road and there are traffic men, jaywalking pedestrians really get shouted at.

  6. Should I feel worried if i already recognize myself in more than half of these statements and just having lived here (in Xi’an) for 6 months? :P

  7. wow I laughed so hard at some of these that I sprayed 茶 on my monitor. You should have a warning “May cause projectile tea spraying.”

    Is it weird that I did half of these before I moved here? I guess I’ve been around Chinese folk too long…

  8. dude,
    “dd/mm/yyyy” is the proper order.

    good list though.
    Not sure what TAO is… I thought Taipei Taoyuan, but that’s TPE.

  9. You scowl in annoyance at the public bus that screeches and swerves to avoid you as you cross the street without looking, then go back to texting on your phone as you hop over the dividing barrier in the middle of the road, because the crosswalks is too far away.

  10. “You write the date dd/mm/yyyy when you sign your name on English documents”

    Hmmm, Ericka u shold mean YYYY/mm/dd

    XD

    • Profile photo of Ericka

      I think it could go either way. In Chinese it is written big to small, in English documents in China it’s often written small to big, but the american way is mm/dd/yyyy. As you can see, I get all confused>.<

  11. hehe, I just added sprite to some great wall wine for the first time last night – so that makes me guilty of one, but not guilty of thinking great wall wine as high-class.

  12. Love these!! and there are so few of us foreign women married to Chinese men that I’m going to check on your posts more often for solidarity!

    Here’s a few others, especially on visits back “home”:

    …when the sounds of slurping and smacking food ceases to bother you and you find yourself doing it on trips back home, much to your family members’ dismay.

    …when bowls filled with hot liquid don’t even trigger the impulse to reach for a spoon — lifted with cupped hands and at your lips before your relatives can even hand out the flatware.

    …when you translate into English that you “want in the other parking spot to park the car.”

    …when salt and pepper shakers seem like foreign objects on the dinner table.

    …when you reach and start eating from the serving dish in the middle of the table before remembering that Western food isn’t communal.

    …when you find it hard to accept melodies defined as “folk” when they use the fourth and the seventh in the scale.

    …when walking around in stocking feet (or worse, bare feet!) freaks you out and makes you want to stalk your relatives with 拖鞋 in hand.

    …when even you start thinking that Westerners say “sorry” and “thank you” a little too often.

    …when you continue to call yourself a foreigner even when you’re back in your home country.

    …when you hum and/or sort of grunt after saying goodbye on the telephone in a descending pitch before hanging up, even when you’ve just been speaking English.

  13. I relate to nearly all of this, very funny stuff! My extra thoughts –
    When you step into the road to make the bus stop right there so you can be the first onto it.
    When you find yourself running with the frenzied herd to get on the bus, even though another one will probably be along in less than a few minutes.
    When one day you finally snap and decide to push back and try and maintain your place in the quasi queues.
    You worry about if you’re wearing enough warm clothes, even if you feel too hot.
    You don’t blink when your work friends ask and physically check how many layers of clothes you are wearing today, is this a new sweater?how much was it?
    and I guess my family would say that the fact I own a Qipao and a Guzheng could suggest I’ve been here a little too long :-)

    • “When you step into the road to make the bus stop right there so you can be the first onto it.” But some how, no one ever gets hit. What are the drivers doing wrong?!

  14. When you’ve forgotten what being submerged in water feels like. When you squat on the side of the road. When you consider eating at KFC a status symbol. When you go back home and sleep on the floor because the bed you slept in as a child is suddenly far too soft. When you try to hold hands with your buddy back home as you walk down the street. When you remember that the sky is actually supposed to be blue. When you can drink cheap baiju with no mixer.

    By the way, why is it spelled Tsingdao?

    • ‘Qingdao’ is the way to write 青岛 using the Pinyin system of romanization (which is standard these days). ‘Tsingtao’ is the way to write it using the old Chinese Postal Map system of romanization, which also gives us ‘Peking’ instead of ‘Beijing’.
      Incidentally, Tsingtao is my personal favourite brand of Chinese beer, and Peking is my favourite brand of duck.
      So, in conclusion, Postal Map spelling is more delicious than Pinyin.

      • Profile photo of

        I’m pretty sure Tsingtao and Peking are both examples of Wade-Giles method of Chinese romanization — one of the (more promident) pre-pinyin methods. The Chinese Postal Map method is based on W-G.

        There are a number of examples of the spelling being maintained for historical/branding/cultural percolation reasons — Tsingtao and Peking being two of the biggest, “Kung Fu” being another, and some university names (ie. Soochow University, instead of Suzhou University).

        Less tasty or not, Pinyin is much better in my opinion.

      • My “research” is based entirely on Wikipedia, so it needs that disclaimer.
        But I agree with you that Pinyin is better. Apostrophes and hyphenations are ann’o-ying.

  15. Haha, this post is good times :) And I definitely second those people who already see themselves in half of the statements. Oh fast we get 中国化!

  16. add more…

    You know you’ve been in China (Shanghai) too long when…
    walk to around your neighborhood in your pajamas. Go pay your electricity bill at the nearest convenient store.

    hahaha…

  17. Here are some more :)

    –when it doesn’t occur to you to wonder why there are workmen on the walls of your building at seven in the morning.
    –when you feel like something is off-kilter if you didn’t wake up to the sound of “Jingle Bells” or some equally strange melody being played by the street-cleaning trucks… in August.
    –when street-cleaning trucks seem normal to you.
    –when being woken up/having your class interrupted by firecrackers becomes merely a minor annoyance.
    –when newbie foreigners wave to you, and you wonder why.
    –when canned tuna feels like a delicacy.
    –when you automatically scan sidewalks ahead of you to make sure there are no gaping holes.
    –when you have trouble remembering university without class bells and roll calls.
    –when you stop feeling guilty for buying bootleg DVDs because, let’s face it, what choice do you have?
    –when you start thinking Chinese characters are much more efficient than the Roman alphabet, and wonder why more countries don’t use them.
    –when you find it odd that there are other languages that use the Roman alphabet, and don’t have their own.
    –when you apologize for your own country not having a “very long history”
    –when you think drinks with ice in them are too cold.
    –when you start responding “this is China” in response to anything stupid that happens with the same frequency as your Chinese friends.

  18. Can I say I was rolling on the floor laughing while reading this? Haha. Gotta love it, especially this one:

    You know what CAN, PEK, TAO mean

    • And btw I’m a Chinese currently studying in the US. 你们对中国的评论读着真好玩,我得推荐给朋友看看 ^^

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