Is living in China a pleasure or a torment?

Depends what you call living. I mean if you are talking about food and just being there, then itโ€™s great. I live in Guangzhou right now, been there for about 1 year, planning to stay for two more years. I went there cuz of an exchange program. Right now I am studying language. But I wonโ€™t sugercoat it and say all is good. Not true, not everything is good, some is just flat out bewildering for me. Let me list pros and cons.

Pros:

relatively cheap cost for living: sure, renting a house and even buying one is expensive but Iโ€™m talking about food cost and travel expenses only. See, the public transportation in Guangzhou is very convenient. Whichever place you go, it isnโ€™t super expensive. Food prices can get expensive, depends on where you go, but for the most part itโ€™s cheap. I mean I usually donโ€™t go to expensive restaurants so for me a meal only cost about 10 to 15 RMB, which isnโ€™t super bad. Sometimes a meal cost more than that but not super often, in fact not often at all
Clean: some places are dirty, per say, but many places are clean. See, I donโ€™t go to rural places or places that are very poor. I stay in the city and just travel around. Guangzhou is ok in terms of cleanliness. Rainy days it becomes dirty but sunny days itโ€™s good. Buildings I go to, even the building I have classes in are generally good
Pretty safe: see, I came from Toronto. I lived there for almost all my life, born there. I used to think Toronto was one of the safest cities on earth. Well, it changed drastically last couple years as more and more shootings have occurred and more and more incidents have happened. In Guangzhou though, all of those issues are good. You donโ€™t have to worry about getting shot, getting stabbed or not being safe at night. It is pretty safe and pretty good
Relative freedom: contrary to what people say, china is a pretty free country. Now, you canโ€™t say certain things, Iโ€™m sure you guys all know but for the most part it is good. You do need to buy vpn services but once you do, you can access google, Facebook, quora, everything else. You can watch YouTube videos with ease. Also you can drink beer while walking in streets, no one bats an eye. In Canada, you have to be at least 16 to drink. Here in china, you can drink, itโ€™s fine. I only have classes in the mornings now so after that, itโ€™s all freedom. I like it
Now, with pros finished, letโ€™s focus on cons. Now, I am normally not a negative person as I prefer to be simple minded and happy but we do have to do list cons, aka not so good great things to be fair. Every country has good and bad, so letโ€™s list the cons

Cons:

too many people: one of my biggest pet peeves is living in a place with two many people. Overcrowding, especially in busy districts, can get super crazy. Unfortunately in Asia, this is one of the biggest problems. Too many people creates a lot of issues that normally wonโ€™t exist and it also creates tension since people tend to be in a high pressured zone for a long time, throughout the day
Overcrowding on the subway: it is crazy how the queue of the subway gets so wild. I hate riding Guangzhou subway, I swear to god. It is bad enough throughout the day, but even worse during rush hours. I live far away from my school, about 40 minutes of commuting. Everyday in the morning is a challenge. My biggest issue with rush hour is how people stand straight in the line before the subway arrives but as soon as it arrives, all hell breaks loose. They just jam into one another and crowd into the subway. Pushing is a necessity if you want to get into subway during those times and it can get super dangerous, not right
Lack of manners: from my experience here in china, people act sort of disrespectful towards one another. The way they talk to one another is just mind boggling to me. I understand a bit of chinese, not much, and the way they yell at one another and talk loudly gets me. I mean I am sort of use to it now but I hate loud noises, canโ€™t stand it. If I donโ€™t go out of the way, somebody just yells at me with their bad attitude. I been bad mouthed all the time by simplying not seeing certain things. Not my fault some people look pissed all the time
Hard to socialize: hard to make friends, really it is. I mean my attitude might be a part of it but this is how I always been. I always been straight, never the one to hide myself from nothing. I speak what I feel is real, regardless of what others think. People in Guangzhou, around me, especially the locals hate it. They constantly tell me I have to change and tune it down when they know they are the ones who have issues, not me. I am also not a very close person to deal with, meaning when you first meet me, you wonโ€™t feel that connection right away. I am not a super friendly person, until you know me well and earn my trust. Because of the fact that I am not close to relate and I am very careful about trusting others, locals donโ€™t like to talk to me
Cultural differences: this is like my second time in china. About 11 years ago, in 2008, I came to china for two weeks, for olympics. I was a visitor at that time and so everything seemed good. Before coming to china last year, I sort of had high expectations as I childishly thought it was going to be the same as being a visitor. Boy, was I wrong. I was super wrong. Living here is way different as the things you have to face and the stuff you see everyday, itโ€™s tough. Cultural adaption is huge, as locals donโ€™t experience as we experienced. For me, it is especially true as my past is super unique, way different than others. The stuff I saw and the vision I have, most of my fellow students donโ€™t have. Most never see what I see, for their lifetime. Tough to adapt
Overall, thatโ€™s it for my experience. I mean I donโ€™t know whether I like it here for not. I am at a confused stage in my life, where I have to figure out my next move pretty quickly. Technically I have 2 more years but really I donโ€™t. You never know what will happen in your life, no one knows. In two years I might leave or I might stay, but I am strongly considering leaving for now

(By Kevin Rui Ning Mao from Quora)

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