How I travel to and from my workplace in China
I had two jobs in China:
1. I was the English teacher at the French-German expatriate school for foreign kids that were living with their parents in China, in Shanghai. I had the opportunity to teach English.
2. I got a part-time job after I reached out to Johnson & Johnson. I was teaching business English.
The travel to and from these places of work is either with a taxi or with a chauffeur driver or in a minibus with other employees from Johnson & Johnson.
Some of the things I learned in China
I really learned a lot about Chinese culture and the way they look at life and the way they look at health and healing. Some of the things I learned:
• There’s been tremendous devastation from natural disasters and famines.
• There are a lot of people there, and it’s really hard to feed a country of 1.5 billion people.
• The quintessential greeting in China is “Chi fan”
When you say “How are you?” “How’s your day going?”
They say, “Chi fan.”
Chi Fan means, have you eaten rice? Have you had rice?
That is the quintessential greeting in China where people are checking on each other and asking, “Have you eaten? Have you had your rice?” So I found that very fascinating.
• Their “pharmaceutical drugs” are herbs.
Because Western medicine is not available so much in China, they use a different traditional practice that is six or 7,000 years old, it’s based on things from nature. They’re bark or roots or leaves that are taken from nature and made into concoctions. They don’t call them pharmacies. They call them dispensaries. That was another interesting thing to note about Chinese medicine.
• This custom of wearing face masks in public has been for decades in China
As we have learned in recent times, Chinese people wear masks quite often in public because of seasonal flu and colds. They don’t want to be spreading their germs, nor do they want to be picking up other people’s germs.
• Shopping is also different
They have department stores now.
• It takes two or three hours to cook a family meal
There is a lot of Western fast food nowadays. And believe it or not, KFC is widespread in China.
The traditional meals are prepared in a very different way, where the cook really takes a lot of time meticulously chopping the vegetables, very small, very tiny. In our country today, we take about six minutes to heat something up in the microwave.
So that’s a big difference as well. I know that there are some very dedicated chefs and there’s a lot of cooking shows on TV and that’s a big pastime, but most people in our society are pretty stressed and running late all the time. Therefore, whether it’s fast food from a restaurant or fast food from a microwave, that has become more or less the way of life in our Western society.
These are just a few nuggets to take away from my experiences being overseas.
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