China fatigue

By Nick Waln Source:Global Times Published: 2018/7/31 16:18:39

Let me preface this by saying I love China, and I love living in China.

There are some great things about living here that you can't get anywhere else in the world. However, there are downsides.

For many expats, at some point in their tenure in China, they'll feel what I and others have dubbed "China fatigue." This is a form of culture shock. However, in China, it has a way of affecting every expat that I know at some level and at some point.

I'm no stranger to culture shock. I've lived in various cities around the world, and it usually goes the same way. When you first arrive in a country, there might be a small initial shock, but most of it is excitement and a heightened state of awareness of the cultural differences around you. After some time, these feelings might transition into real culture shock, which can take the form of annoyance, anger, frustration and exhaustion. Those who stay after this period, will find themselves rewarded by a much more balanced and lasting understanding of the culture.

In my experience, some cultural divides are harder to accept for expats after a longer period of time. Some things are changing, like the pollution levels in Beijing and Shanghai, which have been improving over the years.

However, other factors are things that are inherent to China like the number of people, constant advertising when opening apps or turning on a TV, cutting in lines, strange and seemingly illogical red tape and so on.

I don't say this to be cynical about China, again, I love China. I chose to live here, and I think it offers many great opportunities. I do think that sometimes many people, including myself, get tired of certain things that most of the time don't bother them, but it builds up, and eventually, you need to leave, take a vacation, take a break or get out.

Once you take a break, you feel infinitely better and start missing China! You begin to miss the good things, and you see many benefits you took for granted. Just like a relationship, time apart makes your love grow stronger. This is something that's special about China, and I've seen it in people who have lived here for one year to over 10 years.

It may not be easy to be an expat in any country, but this is the best solution for anyone when "China fatigue" sets in.

This article was published on the Global Times Metropolitan section Two Cents page, a space for reader submissions, including opinion, humor and satire. The ideas expressed are those of the author alone, and do not represent the position of the Global Times.


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