How has living in China changed you?

it’s aged me!

I was in my mid-20’s when I came, and after 30+ years here I’m already 57. If I stay here a few more years I’ll be 60. No one cares!

I don’t know which changes are due to maturing and which are due to living in China, but I can say how I’m generally different than Americans who haven’t lived in China.

I’m less emotionally invested in news reports, especially about politics. If you’ve lived in a place or have a job that’s occasionally the focus of the international media (as China manufacturing has been) then the discrepancy between what’s reported and what you know is obvious. It makes you skeptical at first, then cynical. Apathy soon follows.
I don’t take it for granted that multi-party democracy is superior to one-party rule. I tend to look at the results not the process.
I accept rapid, sweeping, head-spinning change as the norm. instantly accepted and accommodated.
Yesterday we used paper currency to purchase things. Today we use cash cards. Tomorrow we’ll buy everything with our phones…. oh wait… we’re using the phones now, today, not tomorrow. OK, ok. I got it. Yesterday we used cash cards, today we use phones, tomorrow well use something else.

I don’t remember when I stopped carrying cash and then stopped using my cash card. But that’s where I am now. That’s where everyone is—even beggars on the street accept mobile payments.
Got a meeting in the next city… ? Better schedule 1/2 a day to get there. Then, all of the sudden, you realize you’re always arriving early to meetings. Everything started moving faster like this. Now that half a day gets you from Shanghai to Beijing by train. And if you start in the morning in Shenzhen, you can have an authentic Hunan lunch in Hunan, and be back in Shenzhen for an authentic Cantonese dinner.
I’m more appreciative of people in general, Chinese or expat. I don’t love everyone, but I value my relationships and feel grateful for the respect and assistance I’ve been given. I often feel like the big bang has distributed the universe’s molecules with my wellbeing in mind.

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