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Culture Shock

There is no specific topic for this post, just a few unrelated things about my time so far in China, seeing as I have now been here for over two weeks.

I have also been asked to post some pictures, ‘no matter how trivial’, so I’ve done just that.

Firstly, I’ll admit that my first few days here were a huge shock. A mix of homesickness, culture shock, unfamiliarity, and unusual food (and the smells they come with) do not make for an inviting combination. I’m not going to lie – in the days after I arrived, my mind was consumed with thoughts of ‘Why did I choose Chinese?? Why didn’t I choose Arabic?’ and ‘How long until I can go home?’.

It sounds like a waste to be thinking like that, when there are so many new experiences to be had in such a vast country, but I was totally unprepared for what was waiting for me in Beijing.

One of my major issues was food. I ate because I knew I had to, although I didn’t feel hungry. When food arrived, I would feel nauseous just thinking about eating. I want to do a separate post on food later, but here are a couple of things that were on a menu in a Muslim restaurant.

Not the best name for a dish…

A couple of them looked like very poor translations, I wish I’d taken more pictures that I could have posted, but I’ll bear that in mind for next time.

This certainly does sound delicious, though.

Just to be clear, this wasn’t the food I was eating when I arrived. I’m no way near ready to try such dishes.

Luckily, I have now moved into a flat and have a kitchen where I can cook. I’ll not mention the cockroaches that roam the cupboards, seeing as we bought ‘houses’ for them from the local store.

What a pretty house for a cockroach…or three

If I was a cockroach, I’d want to join the happy ones in the window too..

The ones who fell for the bait (the packet in the middle) got trapped in the sticky green lines around it… Serves them right.

Also, as part of the long and tedious process of registration for university, this week I had the pleasure of having my Foreigner Physical Examination done, in a Healthcare Center For Aliens. Some snippets of the report as evidence of my apparent normality:

Reassuring to know..

Literally, the doctor seemed to just want to check that our ears were existent: just a visual check to confirm that we had a nose, mouth, ears, a tongue and skin was sufficient.

Honestly, I always had issues with my nose…
Luckily they’re all cleared up now.

With the excellent internet speeds to be enjoyed here, uploading pictures is a joy. However, I’m looking forward to university classes starting on Monday and hope to post about my initial reaction to Chinese education soon!

Please leave comments if there’s anything in particular you’d like me to post about, and I will try to write about it.


About Ibtehaal

I graduated with a degree in Chinese and Economics, which involved spending a year studying Chinese in Beijing. This turned out to be the hardest but most rewarding thing I think I have ever done. I've now returned to China for another year, to study in Shanghai and figure out my next steps.

5 responses »

  1. Very good, the pictures definitely a good addition to the blog!!

  2. Enjoy your blog! Very interesting!!! 🙂 Did you feel better now? Food is a major issue, I understand, so did u begin cooking yourself?

    • Hey Jessica, thanks for reading! I’m getting more and more used to life in China, and yes – I have started to cook, despite the troubles of trying to make shopkeepers understand what ingredients exactly I want to buy… So far, I’m sticking to vegetables I recognise 🙂

  3. salaam Ibtehaal, minhaal is home today and he gave us a surprise visit, agreat pleasure
    also glad to read your blog pray all good for you..

    • AS
      That’s good to hear, he deserves a bit of a holiday! Maybe you can give me a surprise visit too 🙂
      Thank you for reading, please remember to keep me in your prayers, take care.


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