Friday, June 10, 2011

Quirks...a post by Carrie

Top 4 Quirky Things about China:

1. Couples often wear matching outfits
2. Using umbrellas in the sunshine
3. Squat toilets
4. Corn-flavored ice cream popsicles

These are just a few of the interesting observations that I've made since I've arrived.  While some of them, or perhaps all of them, may be shocking to non-Chinese people, I really enjoy testing the idea of what is considered normal.  “Normal” is often misconstrued as being the way we do things, and so anything that doesn't fit within that paradigm is judged as strange or abnormal.  We take for granted the way we were raised and use it to judge other cultures.  It's important to realize though that each culture has it's own view of normality and sometimes we need to step back and remember our own quirkiness.  American culture is just as strange from an outsider's perspective. 

4 Quirky Things about America that We Think are Normal but Wouldn't be Normal to a Chinese Person

1. Drinking beverages from enormous cups
2. Our obsession with tanning and being tan, which is unhealthy and related to being a peasant.
3. Using western toilets, which are harder to clean and less sanitary since you have to sit on them (though they are growing in popularity)
4. Driving everywhere!

These cultural differences are what make traveling so interesting.  Being here allows us to reevaluate our own culture from a different perspective and stretch our comfort levels.  As for the matching couples, I find it cute.  They always seem to be smiling and enjoying themselves, which makes me smile too.  Having tried out my umbrella one sunny afternoon, I've come to the conclusion that it really is helpful and makes the 90 degree weather much more bearable.  Now I don't leave the hotel without it, unless of course I'm wearing my new floppy hat that I purchased from a street vendor. After conquering my initial fear of the squat toilet and actually using one, it's really not so hard.  Given the choice, I'd still prefer a western toilet because it's what I'm most used to, but using a squat toilet isn't the end of the world.  As for the buttery, corn-on-the- cob flavored popsicle, the jury is still out on that one.  It's not a taste for everyone, but I kind of liked it.

1 comment:

  1. Neat post! Thanks, all, for taking the time to post these travel reflections. This is Dr. Nancy Rourke writing from back home with a pressing question for Dr. Forest and his students:

    Are the corn-on-the-cob flavored popsicles frozen? and are they actually buttery? Inquiring scholar(s) want to know!