We’ve all been there; how’s life on the other side of the globe? What is the differences, do we think alike, act alike – the food MUST be different, right?
I have to admit that when I arrived in Shanghai I was very taken aback. I had expected to see temples everywhere around me, old houses with delicate and traditional patterns and people walking around in red and golden chinese dresses. The stereotype may have been made because of my Norwegian roots – living on the other side of the globe, with cold weather, snowstorms and a wealthy population made by our discovery of oil in our sea – I most definitely had other expectations than people from closer countries must have had. Now – don’t misunderstand, I was very aware of China, the country had been on my mind for a while. I had decided to study chinese a while ago, but was very persistent on not actually studying IN China. For me the idea sounded scary, such a big country – and so different from Norway! However, after living here almost half a year already, I can assure everyone that things are not that different from home after all.
I still go to school everyday. I leave early in the morning, have regular classes, go home, do homework and have dinner with my family. I still hang out with my friends, work out, go shopping or just discover new things. I still eat breakfast, lunch and dinner, I still watch american tv-series and I still wear my old, worn out vans everyday.
The only difference is; that my surroundings have changed.
Instead of taking the bus to shcool with 40 of my classmates, I take the metro with 7 million people in the morning. My classes are not in norwegian or english – they’re in chinese. My homework no longer consist of maths, history or psychylogy – they consist of chinese words and characters. Most of my meals either consists of rice, vegetables, dumplings or something fried – and I have become a master at chopsticks! I still hang out with my friends, but never in their homes or dorms, in China we meet somewhere else – at a cafe, on a street corner eating streetfood or while walking around in the city. I still watch american tv-series, although the internet is very slow and foreigners are more than addicted to vpn. And my dear old vans, they haven’t changed at all! They just don’t walk around on norwegian soil anymore.
For many it might seem scary to move far away, I know the feeling very well myself. Things will change, you will be far away from those you love and maybe language will be a big obstacle for you. But no matter what, please remember that no matter where you go your daily life will still go on. Your surroundings may change, but you can feel safer knowing that no matter where you are there will always be things that you are used to be doing, either that’ll be going to shcool, eating meals or doing social activities.
I think, for me, the whole concept of moving across the globe was so scary simply because I didn’t have enough knowledge about the country. I didn’t know what to expect – and because of that it seemed scary, simply since i knew that things were going to be different. What i didn’t know however was how much I was going to enjoy it. I decided on doing something I truly wanted – so I stepped out of my comfort zone, and I haven’t regretted it at all. And who knew? Life in China is not that much different than I had imagened after all… 🙂
(Another change, although not for me, was for my brothers to wear school uniforms – a little change, but especially welcomed by the youngest one – who felt like he now could take on the world. Funny how the small things in life sometimes means just as much as the bigger ones!)