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Saturday, October 27, 2012

How they feel about the cold in China

Here's a cultural difference that completely surprised me. The last time I was in China was January, and it was cold. So of course, when going outside, we put on a coat and lots of clothes. Just like in the US.

But here's the difference: In China, cold is not seen as a reason to not spend time outside. In the US, if it's freezing out there, you put on your big coat and you go where you need to go but you definitely try to spend as little time as possible outside, because IT'S COLD. In China, if it's freezing, you put on your big coat and apparently you then feel perfectly fine about doing anything and everything outside.

I was kind of baffled. I remember in Beijing, shopping for Spring Festival decorations from sidewalk vendors when it was 30-40 degrees F. I remember in Chongqing, eating at a tiny restaurant with no door, so cold I couldn't even hold my chopsticks.

Culture is such an interesting thing. People have vastly different ideas about what's "normal", and it continues to surprise me. And that's why I'm moving to China.

Temple of Heaven. 天坛。
And now I rewrite this blog post, but in Chinese:

这个文化不一样的让我非常惊讶。我上次去中国是今年1月,很冷。所以,去外面的时候,当然穿好大衣服。就是跟美国一样。

但是这个不一样:在中国,外面很冷不让大家别去外面。在美国,如果天气冷死了,你要穿很多衣服,要在外面花很少时间。因为非常冷!怎么在外面玩?冷死了。但是在中国,多穿一点衣服,然后好像在外面什么都可以做。在外面很高兴。

我真的不明白!我记得在北京,买春节的东西,天气很冷但是在外面走走。我记得在重庆,在很小饭馆吃饭,冷得不能用筷子。

文化肯定很有意思。别人觉得非常不一样的事情很“正常”,一直让我很惊讶。那就是为什么我要住在中国。

怎么样?我英文好还是中文好?

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