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How cheap is food in China?

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If I want more time in the day, does that mean sacrificing my sleep??!
Where does time go when you actually want to use it constructively?
There seems to be so much time available when you’re ‘wasting time’ (not that I do any of that here, of course), but time just totally escapes you when you’re actually aiming to study.

My defence is that Wednesdays are the longest days of the week, in terms of my uni timetable. Classes from 8am to 12 noon, and then again from 3:30 to 5:15pm.  That break in between is extremely annoying. Luckily I only live a 20minute walk away from campus. After getting some lunch with friends, I actually did some work in that time today. But once you start doing the work you should have been doing all year, you realise that there really is a lot of it, and it’s never-ending, and that you need to spend every single moment of your time keeping up, and that this hour you just spent working is only scratching the surface. Wait, why am I even describing that? That’s just standard student life. It’s my own fault I avoided it for so long 🙂

On another note, Nafeesah and I have recently been really trying to figure out and determine (by this, I mean with actual calculations) if cooking at home is more cost-effective than eating out. It may sound obvious, but it’s actually a pretty close call. Today we made….well, I guess I’d call it stir-fried cabbage, in various Chinese-y sauces: soy sauce, garlic chilli bean paste, sesame paste. We’re coming to the conclusion that you probably save a few kuai (20 to 30p) overall per meal, financially speaking, but then we should take time into account too, right?
Spending approximately 2 hours preparing, cooking, eating and then washing up and clearing away vs. 40minutes to walk to the local Halaal place, order and wait for your dish, eat it up (nom nom), and walk back home. (or 10minutes to get there, get a take-away, and walk home again!)
On balance, it comes down to this – minimal monetary savings vs. the opportunity cost of time and better tasting food!

I did get somewhere with regards to the list from yesterday though. I bought tickets to Xinjiang, for after my exams are over in June! I’m feeling that was a little impulsive now, in the sense that I have no idea where I’ll be going or what I’ll be doing there, but that’s something I can think more about as the time gets closer, I suppose. Booking the tickets was the more important, initial step, and I just hope that trip proves to be an exciting final adventure in China!

Something I just read online about Kashgar, the city I’ll be landing in:

The city of Kashgar lies in the Taklamakan Desert, and “Taklamakan”  is said to translate as “go in and you won’t come out,” or the “desert of death.”

Uhhh great, that’s reassuring.
They also don’t speak Mandarin there…


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.

2 responses »

  1. Time is a curious thing- it flies by when you want it to slow down and races forward when you want it to drag… which makes it totally incompatible with ‘student life’. By the time we get our time management skills right, we will no longer be students -_-

    Also if you have friends nearby, you could consider having a cooking rota. That would save time and you get to eat fresh food 🙂 If not, takeaway for the win!

    • That’s a great idea, (though I think we may have ended up spending more time relaxing at each other’s places than getting on with studying), but it’s probably a little late to start thinking of a cooking rota right now when we’re all so stressed with the end of term approaching!
      Takeaway for the win 🙂 It’s pretty fresh anyway.


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