One moment, you're bright-eyed and fresh-faced bouncing off the plane, asking, "What's that smell?" (It's China.) The next, you're sipping kaishui out of a thermos in July, riding a rusty bike through hell traffic. Time flies, don't it?
Image: Quick Meme
You Carry Tissues Everywhere
This isn't your first rodeo. You've been out and about on a beautiful summer day in your favorite flats (or even worse, open-toed sandals) only to feel the horrifying, warm squish of poop underfoot.
You've been strolling the city after a spicy Sichuan meal only to feel the telltale churn in your intestine signifying impending doom -- and the closest available bathroom is a public hole in the ground.
You've sought shade along the sidewalk only to notice that the slight dripping of water from above is not the beginning of a summer storm -- you just hope it's AC run-off. And THAT'S why you never leave home without a pack of tissues.
Image: Queen Mary Tea
You Shove People Who Budge You
The first time it happened, you sighed in frustration. Your pain went unnoticed. The second time, you huffed and puffed and maybe muttered some curse words under your breath. The third time, you may have even politely tapped the shoulder of the offending line-cutter to bring attention to his or her error. Now, you literally step around the budger, thrust an elbow in front and shove your way back in to your rightful position in line.
Image: Getty Images
You Correct Other People's Chinese
Your's is still not perfect, but there's nothing like relishing an opportunity to tell someone else that they've made a mistake. Preferrably in front of a large audience to enjoy the schadenfreude of public humiliation and loss of face.
You're Arrogant Towards English Teachers
Being born into the language is the basic qualification for a job, but don't forget that teaching is tiring and difficult. And also that they make more money than you do. And, most importantly, that you were probably one at some point in the past, too.
You Genuinely Enjoy Drinking Hot Water
The occasional glass of hot water is nice, isn't it? Especially during a China winter, it warms you up from inside out. On the other hand, if you find yourself drinking hot water during a China summer you've gone full native.
And looseleaf tea (unless it's in one of those thermos with the strainers) is simply not practical. The leaves get in the way and that herbal bullshit simply does not contain the caffeine a red-blooded American needs to get through his or her day. What would your grandfather say if he caught you with that?
Image: Online Sakhi
You Disregard Traffic Laws
Crossing the street without looking is categorically a bad idea. Just because the Chinese do it does not mean you should follow suit. Remember what law and order looks like? Stopping at red lights, yielding at intersections, giving the right of way? Have you ever seen a stop sign observed in China? For that matter, have you ever seen a stop sign here at all?
Think back to a time and place far away, a place with speed limits and respect for human life. Hold it in your mind. NEVER LET GO.
Image: Toronto Star
Squatters Don't Scare You Anymore
No more splashing and slipping, you've got this down-pat now. In fact you're even starting to suspect there may be something to this method. You're looking in to having your apartment toilet switched out with a hole in the ground.
You've Stopped Saying "God bless You"
Why would you say "god bless you" in China? This is a secular, Communist country. No one cares if you sneeze. And you could say "excuse me" in Chinese (rang yi xia), but assuming that person moved for you, there would still be about 1.3 billion people behind that person in your way.
3AM Is Too Early to Go Home
Remember "last call"? It's the legally enforced alcohol law you used to observe back home, whether you liked it or not. And in many parts of America that's about 1:50AM. Nightlife in China, though, rages until the sun comes up and the ayis take to the streets to do their morning qigong and walk their miniature poodles.
...And 1 Bottle of Wine Is Not Too Much
You used to drink a reasonable, normal human being amount of alcohol. Used to. Now you are dealing with the stress of living in China.
You Are the Bitter Expat
The world is a dark place full of bad people trying to take advantage of you. Foreign guys only want local girls; Chinese workplaces treat employees like caged animals; meat is all baby kitten; and the pollution is giving you a constant headache. If these are opinions you've voiced recently, buy a ticket on the next plane home.
Source: City Weekend