12 Quirky Things to Know Before Visiting China

Maybe you’ve watched Disney’s Mulan a few hundred times and have a strong hankering to find your own Shang or to see The Great Wall. Perhaps you’re intrigued by how hard people say the language is or have come to buy “luxury goods” for cheap. Great! It is an awesome land with good food, loads of history and scenic places. But, for whatever reason you visit –it helps to come a little bit prepared to ensure minimal culture shock.

After living in China for nearly five years, I’ve made a list of things I wish people would have told me before I came. I’ve narrowed it down to my top 12 quirks, here.

Shaxicun She Minority Village and Dongxi Rock

My favorite kind of days are those bright, warm sunny ones, with a light gentle breeze and clear blue skies as far as the eye can see. This was one of those days as we headed out of Lishui’s Liandu district (the main city center where I live). My 7th grade coworker, Amanda, from the Middle…

It’s the most wonderful time of the year…in China!

“Welcome to China! Gan Bei!” “Laoshi , welcome to our home! Ganbei!” “Laoshi, over here! Ganbei!” “Drink more! Drink more!” Melody’s mother-in-law urged as she poured more wine into my glass while Melody’s father reached over to refill my other glass with baijiu to “ganbei!” (bottoms up!) yet again. It seemed as soon as I…

End of the Road?

Tsampa. This is the legendary foodstuff that has enabled sherpas, nomads and countless adventurers to navigate and survive Tibet’s often harsh terrain and unpredictable climate. In the mid to late 20th century, the term “Tsampa-eater” became an all-encompassing label to refer to various peoples from the Tibetan area, even though parts of North India, Turkestan…