Not everyones cup of tea
Just as the title says China is not everyones cup of tea, and small towns and villages are even less peoples idea of a great time.
When I would tell everyon back home that I was coming to China not just to visit this time, but to live for a year I was met with mix reactions, yet all generally the same. I would get their laundry lists of stereotypes and bad media information given to them while 99% of them had never left the town they grew up in much less ventured into a country so, well, foreign. I would try to convince them that it wasn’t A) going to make me a “commy’ and B) make me a godless savage (I already was both, shhh dont tell) So no matter how hard I tried to show them evidence to the contrary they would hold their hands up and say things like “they did that while you were there to look good for the Americans.” Um, yeah China stopped evreything in its 1.8 billion people country and played nice for the 2 weeks I was there in 2010. Sure, ok, whatever. I gave up.
Then you meet people who are supposedly Asiaophiles like myself and my best friend I lovingly call wife (hi Kristin, its complicated, so don’t hate). They talk a big game but when plane lands and the doors open they suddenly are in shock that it isn’t like the pictures in books and magazines. Their discontent gets worse when they arrive in to Kaifeng.
Kaifeng is a small town(5.5 million) in Henan Province, one of the poorest provinces in China. The new China hadn’t arrived into the bigger cities in the province and it was light years away from my little corner of the world in Kaifeng.
Before anyone complains that I am complaining about Kaifeng, bite your tongue! I am merely tellng you that Kaifeng is not Conde’ Nast ready yet, but that is why I love it.
And I really do love it, flaws and all. It isn’t perfect but that is part of its charm. But for the first 4 months of being here I was made to feel guilty that I liked it here. I even got sucked into the world of westerners that complained inssently about their surroundings dispite the fact that THEY CHOOSE TO BE HERE!
It also went beyong that attitude, and that is when I realized that while having English speaking friends was great, I wasn’t one of them. This is because of how rude and snobby and down right disrespectful they were to the people of Kaifeng. They often walked around noses in the are like they were better then the poor farmer turned grocer. That is when I decided, I came for the life here, I came for the people here. I made choice to change friends and begin hanging out with like minded Chinese locals, who by the way are AMAZING PEOPLE!! I love everyone of them.
Am I ranting, yes I am, sorry about that. But I got fired up after I recently read something someone wrote about not only things in MY CITY but about me.
There is an episode of Sex and the City Season 5, when Carrie finds herself single, so she decided to “date” NYC. At the end of the episode she says, “you may only one great love, then New York may just be mine, and I can’t have nobody talking shit about my boyfriend.”
Well that is my Kaifeng and it is my love and I love it: dirty, smelly slighty balding with a bad comb over, and all. So stop talking shit about my boyfriend.