Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Fading Into The Background

It's amazing what we don't see anymore...The wonders of assimilation!

Lately, I've been taking a mental tally of some of the everyday Chinese oddities that have become commonplace to us, and found it is actually work to do so. It seems that things that would have shocked or surprised us when we first moved here now seem totally normal and rarely merit a second glance.

For starters, take the laundry hanging everywhere. If there is anything that resembles a pole or a line, there's most likely something hanging from it. It doesn't matter where or when, the Chinese way (ultimate energy efficiency!) of drying underwear to outwear, blankets to bras, you name it and we've seen it flying high.

Next up, means of daily transport. To see three or even four people on a motorbike (sometimes including a baby) doesn't even faze us anymore. The last che I gave a second look to was a horse and cart galloping down a street adjacent to the Temple of Heaven.

Group gatherings and the leisure activities that coincide with them are almost expected. From the small group of nai nai and ye ye (grandmas and grandpas) who gather outside our apartment building for their daily does of taijiquan to the hordes that can be found at virtually every public space, especially parks, flying kites, singing patriotic songs, ballroom dancing, or twirling flags, their absence rather than their presence is what causes surprise. People appear so happy to be alive, enjoying the day with others who like to do what they like to do.

How about those card players and Chinese chess players? Any time, anywhere, you'll see men and women engrossed in gaming. And if the stakes are high, or the competition looks fierce, you'll see a circle of people form around the players. Simply commonplace.

Yet, for new eyes (as ours once were), these occurrences might draw raised eyebrows. Once perplexed by them, we now delight in them. And so we await the fresh of Wayne. We'll welcome the opportunity (in just a few short hours!) to once again experience the newness of China, through his experiences...Not that we take a single day for granted!

Hopefully, Wayne will too delight in...

Babies with split bottom pants.

Tanks of fish, frogs, and turtles at neighborhood restaurants.

Funny looking light switches and plugs.

Firecrackers at 6 am on a weekday.

Chopsticks. Every meal, every day.

How about dumplings, noodles, and buns for breakfast?

Street food on every corner.

Webs of wires strung everywhere.

The prettiest hair I have ever seen on a man. (The trendy guys have bigger hair than me!)

Squat toilets.

Audi after Jinbei after Santana.

Sanlunche parked outside our front door.

Pigeons flying in formation over Saoziying.

Little dogs everywhere.


PS: By the way, for those keeping score at home, that's 2-0 for the groom's side...Come on bride's side!


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