I’m headed back to China in about a month to continue studying language and culture, and though I’m very excited to finally be headed out, I’ve started to realize how many things will suddenly become difficult to access and find. It’s a very different place on the other side of the world, and despite having access to many of the things that we have in the United States, it doesn’t mean that they are easily accessible or cost effective to obtain.
Let me start by saying that people are the highest on this list; My family my friends- they will be more difficult to be in touch with. My girlfriend- We’ve been together for a year and a half, and this will certainly be a challenge. These connections are foremost in what I will miss, but as they are not things, let’s not make them a part of a shopping list. That would just be wrong.
These items below are in no real order, and though my world will soon be without them (or at least without quick access), they are a small trade for the many things I am sure to discover in their stead.
1. Coffee– I have been told that you can get a good cup of coffee while you are in China, but I certainly did not find this to be the case the last time I was there. Sure, I could head over to Starbucks and get a great cup, but when I was in Beijing it was a choice between a cup up coffee or a days’ worth of food. Not the cheapest habit to maintain. My addiction will now be fed by tea.
2. Speedy (open) internet connections– Most Americans are tremendously spoiled in terms of their internet connection. We are well connected, and expect nothing less. More than five seconds of load time and we tend to start swearing. While I have spent the last two years living in a region that has no cell phone service and only the poorest of Internet connections (I have never had internet in my house), I suspect that that amount of censorship in the PRC will take time to get accustomed to.
3. Easy Access to Books– I love to read, and from what I understand, it can take quite a bit more time and money to get certain books in China. Oh well. I’ve heard mixed things about being able to order kindle books in China. Still debating whether or not I want to bring mine.
4. Clean Water– I’m a water Snob. Having lived in the Catskill Mountains (one of only five Metropolitan Watersheds in the U.S. that is unfiltered), I’ve had access to some of the best tap water in the world. The words Tap and Water don’t typically go well together in the Middle Kingdom
5. The Forest– I live in a 700,000 acre forest preserve. I’ve spent time living in the city as well, but I will truly miss the mountains, trees and wildlife that I’ve come to love so much.
7. Clean Air– this one is self explanatory
8. The Stars– How someone can live in a place where they cannot see those beautiful cosmic lights, I do not know. The clear, infinite black is something that I will truly miss.
9. American Television?– Actually, no, I’m not going to miss this at all.