If a picture tells a thousand words, then a moving picture -- i.e. a GIF -- tells, well... a whole lot more. On our never ending quest to prepare foreigners relocating to China for life in the Middle Kingdom, we’ve compile this list of easily digestible GIFs.
1: It’s kinda cozy
Yeah, yeah, we all know China is a country of 1.3 billion people, but trust us, you’re not prepared for the squish that ensues at popular destinations on a national holiday. Just take this image of a wave pool and transport it to the Great Wall in your mind. Bingo!
2: The pollution comes an goes
Everyone, whether they’ve been to China or not, will tell you how awful the pollution is going to be. However, where you get here, you’ll realize... yup, it’s awful, but actually it’s not constant. Whether you have blue skies or black lungs literally depends on which way he wind’s blowing. This GIF sums it up perfectly.
3: Everyone carries umbrellas, all the time
In most countries across the world, umbrellas are only used when it’s rainy. Go figure. And itn cities like Seattle, USA, where it pretty much rains all the time, folks don’t tend to bother with them at all. Not so in China. Come rain, shine or something in between, you’ll always find yourself battling through a sea of umbrellas. And if you happen to be a head taller than the general population -- as a lot of foreigners are -- you’re going to have to get good at guarding your eyes.
4: The old people are awesome
China has an aging population, so old people are EVERYWHERE, hanging out in parks, playing cards, dancing and generally not giving a darn what anyone thinks. On moving to China you’ll soon realize that the old folks are one of the best things about the country. Flash them a smile and they’ll probably reciprocate by making your day.
5: But the kids are in charge
But don’t get us wrong. While old people may enjoy a high standing in Chinese society, it’s the kids that really dictate the pace around here. Known as Little Emperors (or Empresses), the children in China are notoriously spoiled thanks to the country’s recently abolished one child policy.
6: Everyone will want to say hello to you
If you’re an obvious foreigner, don’t be alarmed when people randomly shout “hello!” at you in the street. For most people who don’t speak English, this is the only word they know, and they’ll probably be saying it for one of three reasons; to be friendly; to embarrass you; or to show off to their friends. Either way, a loud and confident “nihao” in reply usually does the trick.
7: It’s way more beautiful than you expect
Most people think of crowds, pollution and perhaps politics when summoning a vision of China from afar, but the scene on the ground can be very different indeed. Outside of the big cities (and even inside some of them) are some incredibly pretty places. Your Instagram fans won’t believe their eyes!
8: You’re going to have to get pretty good at drinking
“Gan bei, gan bei!” This is a phrase you’re going to get used to hearing in China. Literally meaning “finish glass”, this two-word command will be shouted numerous times over the course of a typical Chinese businesses dinner. If you do it properly, you’ll have baizhou in your glass, but we strongly recommend you try and get away with beer (or indeed, water) instead.
9: You’ll be overwhelmed by how awesome the food is
The Chinese food you get in your home country is not Chinese food. In fact, prawn toast is pretty much impossible to find here. It’s well known that every foreigner who lives in China goes home a bit fatter. It’s hard to avoid when there are so many delicious new things to throw in your noodle hole.
10: People might stare at you
Depending on where exactly you are in China and exactly how foreign you look, you may well attract some stares and perhaps some selfie requests. Try not to let this make you feel self conscious. You’ll soon realize that in a country with such a high population, differences between people are a mere curiosity. Give your admirers a smile and a wave and they’ll soon figure out you’re just as boring as they are.
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