Things I Will Not Be Missing. And Things I Very Much So Will.

Qingdao.

First, some reasons why I'm happy to be headed home.

Things About China/Qingdao I Will Not Miss

  • Being foreign. Sometimes being stared at is not fun.
  • The bathroom situation. Never take for granted toilet paper, soap, and tolerably clean facilities.
  • Limited communication. It’s hard to go deep with people around language barriers.
  • On that note, getting to new places-even within Qingdao-can be a major hassle.
  • Time difference. Sometimes I just want to call home but hey, it’s like 3am there.
  • Children in crotch-less pants. I don’t want to see that, and it’s got to be unsanitary.
  • Spoiled foreigner moment: spotty utilities. I like air conditioning and heat when I want them. I don’t like the elevator being broken or the water sometimes being out during the day or our wifi not working. But mostly I should REALLY get over that.
  • Having to use a VPN to access sites like Facebook.
  • Smog. Often in Qingdao it’s fog, but often it’s not.
  • Not being able to drink tap water.
  • 20 hours of class each week. Nuff said.
  • Everyone is generally more slender. Something I have never been. Takes a small hit on the self-esteem.
  • Boys, skip this one. But tampons are not in the country. Like…at all.
  • The washing machines in my building. I don’t know how, but they ravage my clothes.
  • Enhanced FOMO (Fear of Missing Out). This is a feeling I get that I should be doing SOMETHING epic because I’m ABROAD. But not every moment can be fantabulous.
  • The beds. Are FIRM.
  • Waiting in line is not really a thing. It’s usually annoying, but on my more irritable days it’s downright infuriating.

But more importantly...

Things About China/Qingdao I Will Miss

  • Senior citizen playgrounds. Seriously, it’s full of low-impact type exercise equipment.
  • Headed for the red statue in the distance.
  • Living seaside…
  • Fu Shan.
  • …while also living next to mountains!
  • IMG_1645
  • Kites and bubbles :)
  • A lowered self-consciousness mostly because of the fact language barriers will make me dumb no matter how “put-together” I may normally be. So embracing my own ineptitude, I guess.
  • For a westerner, everything is CHEAP. I’m rich! Comparatively anyway.
  • I’m kind of exotic, because of being foreign and all :D Sometimes it’s nice when people stare. Like having your existence on the planet acknowledged. And when people ask to take their picture with me or my friends it’s just really amusing and fun.
  • Those small feelings of accomplishment that come from each new conversation in Chinese.
  • Being able to experience faith and spirituality that reaches across all cultural barriers.
  • Colors are gender neutral. Men wear pink & purple.
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  • The two boys I’ve been tutoring each week at their homes. They and their families have been so good to me.
  • Proud little dogs with no leashes
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  • Yumeno, my Japanese roommate.
  • Focusing solely on one subject in school
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  • The Aussies in my class
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  • Actually, my entire class. Including both teachers.
  • IMG_1685I definitely can't have just one.If I ever experience pregnancy, sweet purple taro will be one of my impossible cravings.20140310-201917.jpgIMG_2939IMG_2689
  • Certain food: baozi, jiaozi (dumplings), mydo pies, nai cha (milk tea), green tea flavored EVERYTHING, Korean restaurants, taro, cucumber Lay’s
  • Sharing of food
  • Not feeling silly when I’m running at the track, because my fellow exercisers are typically a bunch of elderly Chinese men and women sometimes doing things I consider strange. And then I’m the little foreigner doing my laps…basically, we consider each other strange.
  • The bar Freeman’s.
  • The Szechuan and Muslim chain restaurants near my building. I never actually learned their names that’s just what we call them.
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  • Living in an international community. It’s seriously one of the best things ever.
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  • Add all my new friends to this list. Chinese, international, MSU. All. Pictured and not.
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  • The landscaping in Qingdao. It’s generally beautiful and can smell GREAT.
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  • The notebooks. Their quotes and things just make me laugh.
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  • Fruit stands on every other corner.
  • Nikes and Burberry for about $35...what??
  • Some name brands (or at least a good enough fake for my standards) for next to nothing.
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  • QingQing! He’s the mascot for the international horticulture event that’s been taking place in Qingdao, so he’s everywhere. And super adorable.
  • People saying hello to us as we pass. Probably because that’s the only English word they know and they want to try it out, but hey it’s still nice!
  • Tea culture. It gets me.
  • 20140310-204547.jpg20140310-210217.jpgIMG_1930IMG_2063I think a selfie is appropriate here. IMG_2540
  • The opportunities for travel. China is huge and ancient. Also, see above note about prices.

Basically, this is my attempt at processing. For not the first-nor I'm sure the last-time in my life I find myself wishing I could be in multiple places at once. I'll just take a quick visit to Seoul to visit a friend before I go home to lessen the shock of leaving! Because that makes sense, right? Anyway, that post and a few final ones about my abroad experience will all be coming soon! (ish)