I was so lucky to spend a year in China, working at the Aeronautical College in Changsha. Best job ever, best year ever! I made wonderful friends and got to dive deep into the biggest cultural shock of my life!

Let me share with you a few things that I learned during those few months:

1- Chinese people are super friendly! I was treated like some kind of celebrity: everybody wanted to take selfies with me, show me around the city and ask me questions. They are truly warm people, welcoming and open.

2- If you’ve ever been to a Chinese restaurant you’ve been lied to! I visited Chinese restaurants in Romania, Austria, USA, Chile and Venezuela and I gotta tell you NOTHING in those places was remotely similar to what I had in China. In terms of presentation and taste Chinese food is very different. In fact, I used to be a big fan of Chinese restaurants, but after coming back from my adventure I never liked them again. They just don’t get it right.

3- Speaking of food, going to the supermarket was quite an adventure. I never knew what I was buying, but thank goodness, some items had pictures on them, so I only purchased those. Like if you want dumplings, choose the ones that have a picture of a chicken or a pig on them, so you know what filling they have.

4- People get together and dance on street sidewalks and parks for no reason, just for fun. How cool is that? We need to make it a thing!

5- I don’t know where you live but my city is a ghost town on a Sunday morning. In China on Sundays, at 7:00 people are up and running and elderly people are already exercising in the parks -even in the winter, rain and all!

6- Nobody speaks English, so be prepared to use some pantomime.

7- Lunar New Year is a BIG deal and they celebrate big! You’ll hear fireworks all day long, from morning to midninght! The belief is that loud noises scare away evil spirits, so the louder the better!

I’ll save a few more facts for next year. In the meantime, here are some photos to enjoy! (sorry about the quality, it was a cloudy week and my old phone was a sad thing!)

Night view
My friend’s mom was an amazing cook!
Street vendors
Yueyang at night
TianXin Pavilio in Changsha
Great place for a walk
My office

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