How China Has Changed Me – Part I

I’m impatient. I hate waiting. For example, I will always run to catch the train. I apologise to those I’ve knocked over at London Bridge rail station while trying to catch a train that has already left. Although the next train is usually just 4 minutes away I continue to treat my work shoes like a pair of Nike trainers.

A few weeks ago, I finish my first day at the client site. I had spent a whole day auditing, which actually meant sitting around staring blankly at an Excel spreadsheet wondering how the numbers add up. I went back to the hotel tired and in need of quick food. We ordered at the restaurant but the food had not arrived after an hour. Waiting when hungry is not a good combination for me. So, I got up to the waitress, used some hand movements and asked for the food to come.

This was polite by Chinese standards, but was overly bold by British standards. I didn’t even think it was a big deal because I had got so used to demanding everything quickly in Tianjin. I used to feel that I greatly offended waiters whenever I asked for something. I’d use timid gestures and try to transmit my thoughts by telepathy. That inhibition has now gone, I get to eat sooner but I’m a little less British.

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One Response

  • I’ve lived here in China for the past few years and still find it very awkward and impolite to yell out at the waitresses..

    …”FU WU YUAN!!”

    The problem here is that without the incentive of tips I have no other way of getting their attention. I have no doubt I will go through some reverse culture shock when I get back to the States.

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