Awkward China Moments

A list of awkward moments I have only ever encountered in China:

  • Your boss tells you to eat more, when you already have food in your mouth
  • You walk down the street and everyone is staring at you, and your first thought is “Is my skirt tucked into my underwear or something??!”and then you realize “oh, no I’m just white”
  • When someone calls you on the phone and starts screaming things at you in Chinese
  • Having a straw matt instead of sheets
  • Rust floating in the bottom of your water boiler
  • When you go to an underwear store and none of the bras are even close to your size
  • Not opening gifts in front of people
  • When random people shout “HELLO!” at you
  • When your boss forces baijiu down your throat over dinner and won’t take no for an answer (and you’re hung over for an entire day afterwards)
  • When you can’t seem to figure out what flavor or type of toothpaste, coffee, bread etc. you are buying
  • When you forget to bring toilet paper with you
  • When people cut you in line
  • China belliesbellyshirt
  • When you accidentally eat a lajiao and your whole mouth goes numb
  • When your roommate forgets to put the lid down on the toilet seat when she takes a shower, and the whole toilet seat is soaking wet
  • .. and when everything in your bathroom is always soaking wet in general
  • Getting offered blood tofu or intestines and watched closely to see if and how much you will eat of it
  • When your female boss tries to hold your hand on a daily basis
  • Those girls in grocery stores that scream-chant product information at you in Chinese
  • When you feel like everyone is judging you when you walk into a McDonalds even though you’re the only white person there
  • When your food comes a half an hour after everyone else’s
  • Trying on dresses without zippers at a bargaining market, and the whole store sees that you can’t get the dress over your chest and everyone laughs at you and calls you fat
  • The smell of chou dofu (stinky tofu) on a hot day
  • When everyone freaks out that you enjoy the feeling of sunshine on a warm day, and aren’t afraid of a little tan
  • Restaurants that don’t have picture menus
  • The fact that my fridge is burning hot on the outside
  • This:English
  • When a girl’s shorts are so short that you can literally see her butt
  • When people think you can’t speak Chinese and talk to you in broken English, and when you respond in Chinese they STILL try to speak to you in broken English
  • When you get back from a bar or a club and your clothes REEK of cigarette smoke to the point that it contaminates your whole room
  • Getting asked how much money your parents make
  • Too many compliments!!! “You’re so beautiful” “You’re so smart” “You should be on TV” “You’re such a good writer, you should write a book” “You have such pretty eyes”
  • The fact that I still don’t know if my robe is real silk or not
  • When you’re not sure if it’s fog or smog
  • Squatty potties with no privacy
  • When you have a new roommate and she’s in her late 60’s
  • When you blow your nose and it’s black
  • When people are so shocked by the fact that you speak Chinese they don’t even listen to your question and act like they have no idea what you’re talking about even though you know you’re saying it right
  • When you use a wrong tone and no one has any idea what you are trying to say
  • When a random woman gives you a 10 minute lecture in the grocery store about which pillow will be best for your body and health and you have no idea what she’s saying
  • Almost getting hit by cars, bikes, motorcycles etc on a daily basis
  • Lack of sidewalk etiquette (oh, I’ll just stop right here with no warning)
  • When people tell you that your Chinese is AMAZING even though all you said was “ni hao”
  • When you’re never sure if what you’re buying is real of fake or wether or not you’re getting a good deal
  • Trying to find non-whitening moisturizer
  • People taking pictures of you without asking when you’re at the beach in a bikini
  • When people walk right up to you and take a picture of your face without asking in general…
  • When a random bakery employee asks to get his picture taken with you even though there’s a line a mile long (yesterday)
  • The fact that beauty departments over-hire employees that try to make you buy extremely expensive products
  • When you’re in a very “Chinese” restaurant thinking you’re all cool and cultured, and then a huge group of white people walk in
  • When sweaty men don’t wear shirts in restaurants
  • When you knock one of your chopsticks onto the ground
  • When you’re really thirsty but your hot water is too hot to drink
  • When random people sit at the same table as you in a restaurant
  • Getting asked to be a “language partner”
  • The fact that no one ever knows what to do when they see you on a bus
  • When you’re walking down the street and you’re not sure wether you almost stepped in dog or baby poop
  • When someone wears a horribly misspelled Chinglish shirt and you REALLY want to take a picture
  • And finally, this:chopstick fail




About Richelle

Expat, traveler, and spicy food lover, I've spent the last few years living in China and traveling around Asia. In my spare time I enjoy salsa dancing, exploring night markets and stuffing my face with street food.

2 comments on “Awkward China Moments

  1. When M was in Japan, older women kept walking up to her on the street and grabbing her boobs to see if they were really real…Oh yeah, traveling is really sweet! Keep writing. Some day you’ll get old and your memory will begin to slide. It will be great to have this journal. Then you can spend your time remembering your youth. Miss you.

Leave a Reply: