I cannot believe that I have been in China for 6 weeks now! It is crazy to think about! My skills in China have developed greatly in a short time. During the first week, I had no clue how to maneuver through the metro nor was I keeping up with anything that was happening in the world beyond China. The first day I walked into the dining room I was freaking out and had no clue what to order. My first meal consisted of small fried chicken pieces with rice. I only ate the rice, this went on for more than a week. Currently, I am eating fresh fruit and am ordering off menus without English on them. I point at the pictures of the food that looks good.
Most of the meals include some form of rice and noodles. Strangely enough I am starting to look forward to these meals each day. I am not saying that all Chinese food consists of rice and noodles, because it does not. This is just the types of food I like because I know I will be able to eat part of the meal—I have many dietary restrictions. There are western restaurants in China, they taste a little different than actual western food. My roommate and I went to a western restaurant and they gave us a fork and knife. We have been using chopsticks for the last 6 weeks. The concept of a fork now seems foreign to us. I am however, very excited to have food prepared by my family again! I have been making a list of the meals I am craving while in China. Believe me, it is a long list.
The metro system here is huge and sometimes hard to navigate. Riding the metro each day is necessary as it gets you everywhere! It often gets very crowded, and sometimes fills to capacity. On a good day, you can still see the ground beneath you. On a bad day, you can get pushed farther away from the door as more people enter and only a hand full of people exit. This leaves you at the opposite side of the door, when it opens a large mass try to get through very quickly before the doors close again. This is when you become assertive and have to push yourself through a sea of people in order to get out of the metro at your stop.
The weird thing is that these small things are becoming my norm, and I kind of like it. Weaving through people can gives me a rush. Especially when I am weaving through people to get to the dining hall. It’s comforting feeling that when I am one more person closer in line in the dining hall.
I am by no means saying that I learned the whole metro system in one day. I most definitely did not! It took me about two weeks to fully understand the metro and bus system and what was going on. Now, if you gave me an address to find in Shanghai, I would feel confident maneuvering my way through public transportation.