Dear Everyone in China,

Every once in a while, you and I need to have a talk. Although I dearly love living in your country, sometimes I want to wring your (communal) little neck.

For instance, when everyone herds ON to the bus at the same time, not paying any attention to the poor huge pregnant lady carrying a writhing 2 year old and a stroller trying to get OFF the bus until she has to yell, "Hey! Let me off the bus first please!", I sort of get a little grumpy with you.

Or when a black car comes barreling down on us honking it’s horn loudly right after we get off this same bus in the pedestrian lane, and I simply put up my hand (a la "talk to the hand"), and say (loudly, not to myself, which I’m sure made me look crazy), "Whatever, I think you can wait 30 seconds for us to cross the street." (in English this time, because it’s just not as satisfying to myself be annoyed in Chinese.). I sort of wanted to slash some tires.

Or, for example, when it’s 7am and the construction starts upstairs for the 15th day in a row. And doesn’t end until 10pm at night (and there are no breaks over the weekend). It’s especially fun when my son can’t nap through it, like today. While I appreciate how fast your country is developing, could you please develop yourself somewhere other than my apartment building?

The best part today was the impromptu fireworks display (which simultaneously accompanied the construction going on upstairs) right next to our bedroom windows as my son was trying to fall asleep tonight. A nuclear bomb would have had a hard time competing with this display. I’m sorry to say it China, but if I would have been armed, I would have been quite dangerous.

That is why I want to wring your neck, China. Maybe it has something to do with being a hugely pregnant and thus somewhat (ok, quite) irritable, at least I like to think it does. It also probably has something to do with being American and not Chinese. And I know, if I don’t like it, I can (and should) go home. But I’m not going home, because thankfully most days are not like this one.

So I’ve decided I will not wring your neck, dear China. You’ve become my home now – you are my friends and colleagues, my teachers and neighbors. And friends tolerate idiosyncrasies and weird habits, laugh about their differences, and live to see another day. Just as soon as the construction stops upstairs, I’m going to bed and we can start fresh tomorrow.



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October 2009
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