Three Weeks Later Perspective

As I mentioned  before, I have been getting to know the city of Linyi better, and I think I am prepared to say, after just 3 weeks here, I LIKE IT!

Maybe I am just more comfortable being in China after one year, but I really do feel quite at home here. Well, as at home as one can feel not being able to read or speak the language and sticking out like a sore thumb! Here is a shocker for you – Linyi, China is the first place I have ever been where I am regularly surrounded by two other redheads! With freckles! That has got to blow some kind of statistics – three redheads in a Chinese city of 2 million? I’m afraid we are setting up the local Chinese to believe that most Westerners have red hair, pale skin and freckles. Actually, in this case, many of the Chinese who see me in the company of our two redheaded expat friends, British D and NYC M, can really say that all Westerners they have seen are redheads.

All joking aside, this weekend I found myself sitting alone in a KFC fast food restaurant – completely packed solid, very noisy, and full of kids running around left and right – and there I was, on display as the only “laowai” (foreigner) completely relaxed, eating away in peace. For anyone who knows me, this will seem strange, as I am skittish of crowds and not that comfortable “on display.” Something has changed. I am no longer self-conscious. Although I always remain aware of my environment, I feel very safe here. It’s an odd twist – in a place where I should feel no sense of belonging at all, I feel at ease. (This is a phenomenon common to Third Culture Kids.)

Linyi is a small city with a friendly culture and I think that has contributed to these feelings. Although small, there are all the facilities that we need here – shopping, markets, gyms, a swimming pool, spas, entertainment, better air & friendly people.

In our exploration we came across a small Westernized bar along the river-front and there we met some really amazing people, among them British D. and his soon-to-be wife, L., who is from Linyi and is a very special person. They’ve been introducing us to things the city can offer and making us feel more at home. This new experience, while not without its own few frustrations, seems so much more positive and I am starting to realize how China is much more than just contrasts – it is a puzzling, complex country that changes constantly depending on the day and the latitude.


One Response to “Three Weeks Later Perspective”

  1. Wilson Says:

    By chance, I read all the articles in your blog, they are so amazing from the pespective of an westerner to tell something about China.

    Hope you enjoy life in China.

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