There are many aspects of living in China which take some getting used to. Rather than rant and complain about them, I thought I would just dedicate an entire post to the little quirks that make China what it is. I don’t hate all of them, I’m used to them, and I just thought it would be interesting to note a few of them down.
- Cold water
China doesn’t have running hot water. To shower, I have to plug my water heater in beforehand, wait for it to warm up, and then shower. The main problem with not having hot water on tap is washing up. The washing-up liquid is formulated to work in cold water, but when the temperature plunges below freezing I have no desire to put my hands under cold water. Solution: heat up a pan of water to wash up with. Similar to the shower, it’s not a huge inconvenience, just a little quirk of living in China that takes some getting used to!
- Buying milk
China doesn’t have fresh milk; the only milk on offer is long life milk. Yay! Very recently (i.e. yesterday) I found ASDA long life milk in Walmart, and I am legitimately so excited to have some tea with Yorkshire teabags and ASDA milk. That’s not the only problem with buying milk – compared to other groceries it’s surprisingly expensive. For comparison, the milk at my local supermarket is £1.60 a litre (but sometimes on offer for 90p). ASDA milk from Walmart is £1.10 for 1 litre. Not too pricey, until you consider the fact that a big bottle of coke is 40p. Again, it’s not something getting angry over, especially since I’m almost positive I’m lactose intolerant anyway; it’s just a quirk of China.
- State heating
One of the great things about living in Northern China is that the government controls heating. On the 15th November, the government turned the heating on, so my school saves on the bill of paying for my own heating unit and I get to be toasty warm at home. What’s the problem with that I hear you ask! I have zero control over the temperature and the timing. The heating is on all the time whether I like it or not. Mainly this is an issue because I don’t like sleeping with the heating on; it dries the air out and makes me cough. Consequently every day for the past couple of weeks I’ve woken up feeling ill and not wanted to get up. But hey, I’d rather be warm than cold!!
- Toilets (May be too much information here…)
There are several issues with toilets here. I do have a Western toilet in my flat (thank god!) but most of the toilets out and about are squat toilets. Something which I never thought would be an issue in my life is trying to use a squat toilet whilst in many layers and after drinking. It’s quite an experience… Thankfully I didn’t bring heels with me! The other issue with the toilets here is that you can’t flush the toilet paper. Takes a bit of getting used to but at first it was certainly very weird.
- It’s electrifying!
I’m sure many people will agree with my hatred of rain and wet weather. Living in the North and going to university in Wales however, I’m pretty used to it. Shijiazhuang on the other hand, is very dry in comparison. As a result, static electricity is everywhere. My hair looks fabulous when I take my scarf off in school! Oh China!
Life in China is definitely an experience, and above are just a few examples of what makes Shijiazhuang such a quirky place.