Spending time in China

By Michael Murphy

I arrived in China on August 25, 2011. Having traveled to 24 countries in my life, I'd never been to China. In fact, it was my first trip to Asia.

I don't usually get a lot of preconceived ideas before traveling to a new country. Usually those ideas are soon shattered after I arrive and I find a completely different place than I imagined. China was no exception. Far different than I ever thought.

A driver from the school that I'd be working at, picked me up at the airport. As we drove out of the airport, the first thing that I noticed was how beautiful the highway was and how it looked as good or better than any I'd see in the USA. The landscaping was immaculate and quite beautiful.

We arrived at the school about an hour later. I was tired and wanted to sleep. Other teachers there had a small welcoming party for me so I felt obligated to go there. It was very nice and I felt a warm welcome to China.
China and The West: Differences and Similarities

In many ways, China is much like America. The differences are a small part of the overall experience. Cars, buildings, people, restaurants and all of the other necessities of life are much like they are in the west.

I got my first experience with true authentic Chinese food that very first day. I found it to be quite tasty and delicious. Many assumed since I'm tall and a big man, that I like beef. I guess a lot of Chinese people believe that westerners love to eat beef. My favorite meat though, isn't beef. It's chicken. The kung pao chicken I ate here was delicious and is definitely my favorite Chinese dish.

I also love the pork which I found to be plentiful here.

I love almost all the different kinds of food that I've tried here in China. Many foreigners spend a lot of time trying to find western food and western restaurants. I don't do that. I like Chinese food and have adapted to easily to eating it.

I now eat in small noodle shops. My favorite is dry noodles. Always tasty and always delicious.

When traveling and living in other cultures, I find it best to adapt to that culture as quickly as possible. Especially with food since it is such a natural daily staple of life. It hasn't been hard for me being here in China. I know it is for many foreigners who come here.

In future articles, I'll talk about the things that have been more challenging and what I've done to overcome or simply adapt to them.