Having lived in Central China for a year and returning to States for a year and a half, I really missed things about China. Yes, there were certain things I was glad to get away from but for the most part the good out weighted the bad. One thing I missed right away was my spacious two bedroom apartment because living in Southern California it’s a hard thing to afford on your own. There were plenty of other things that I grew accustomed to and missed about China but from my experience these are the top five things that I wish we had back home.
1. Fast and Efficient Full Service E Commerce
I’m not kidding when I say you never have to leave your house for anything other than work. You can order anything and everything off an app or the internet in China and the speed of delivery is ridiculous and cheap. Just right now as I’m writing this my boss calls me in her office in pure excitement because the 117 page color print job she order last night arrived this morning. The quality was great and the price was 35.20 yuan ($5.29) with FREE shipping. I would never expect to pay that back home or receive it so fast. Whenever I buy things online I can expect to receive it in one to two days and not pay extra for the fast delivery. Another great thing about delivery here is that if the delivery worker doesn’t find you home or encounters a problem on delivery the call you instead of leaving a note saying they came by and couldn’t make the delivery.
So Taobao is part of E Commerce but it is so amazing that it needs its own number. I honestly missed Taobao every day in the US. All my friends and family know about it because I would always talk about how wonderful and cheap it is. I only bought clothes a handful of times at the mall because with Taobao you can pay less than half of what you pay at the mall. If what you order doesn’t work out you can buy the insurance and only pay a fraction of the return shipping cost. When you want to return something you just contact the seller and then call a delivery man and they come to you and pick it up. You can seriously order everything you want off Taobao. You can get groceries, clothes, furniture, travel visas, pay your phone bill and many other things.
Wechat is a phone app that’s like a hybrid Facebook/Instagram/instant messenger. On Wechat you can connect and talk to your friends, coworkers and clients. You can also meet new people with the people nearby feature. One of the best things about it is that you can transfer money to friends, receive a hong bao (red envelope with money), pay bills, and buy plane and train tickets. It’s just so convenient and it’s always really nice when you get a hong bao.
4. Public Transportation
On this one I might be a little biased since I’m from Southern California where public transportation isn’t great, unless you’re in the downtown LA area. I just love public transportation in China. It’s easy to use and inexpensive. You have plenty of choices, you can go by taxi, subway, bus or bike. In the subway stations there’s always a convenient store or bread shop if you’re hungry and in a hurry. It just allows you to enjoy the city you’re in.
5. The People
Last on my list are the people. Yes, you’ll get uncomfortable stares and most likely pictures taken of you, but it’s not too bad when you get to meet some really great people. You’ll get people randomly coming up to you and speaking any English they can. When you response in a nice way they are always so excited and happy. They are for the most part just so excited to be interacting with a foreigner. As for the stares make the best of it. I now make a game of it and stare back but in a playful manner where both parties get a laugh and go on their way. With the pictures, just take some pictures of them. I’ve had people come up and want to take pictures with me and I’ll say yes but they have to let me take one too. You’ll meet people who are so helpful and kind. I’ve had my Chinese co-teachers take me to the hospital and then take me home and cook for me. I’ve had a helpful bus driver remind me where my bus stop was and that I needed to get off. He would also let me on for free (oh the perks of being a girl). Just keep in mind that you do have to be careful as in any situation anywhere you may be. China is a great place and these things just make life here so much easier and enjoyable. I really did miss these things and that is why I’m back in China.
By Leslie Flores
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