After just two weeks in Shanghai (and yet, wow, it’s already been two weeks), I’m acclimating well to China’s customs. Unfortunately, this also means I will very likely come off as rude upon returning to the U.S. A few examples:
- People don’t tip here, and there’s no sale tax. Getting back into the habit of tipping and seeing that extra line item for tax on receipts may be difficult.
- Lines and personal space basically don’t exist. Want to get on the subway during rush hour? Push and shove your way through. Forget about people trying to exit. At the same time, I don’t expect to turn into someone who just ignores the concept of lines, such as at an airport. But when it comes to taking the T back in Boston, there are no guarantees.
- People don’t seem to fear vehicles as much while crossing streets—as evidenced by my bravery in taking a photo while crossing an extremely busy intersection on a Saturday afternoon. I’ve already grown to be more confident in jaywalking while in Boston, but just in these past two weeks, I feel even more confident (or stupid, whichever way you see it) in crossing streets. Cars, trucks, taxis, and motorcycles while not slow down or stop for you. I’ve had my fair share of experiences already with vehicles being within inches of me—and they keep moving. Still, I brush them off. Living on the edge. (But really, I probably shouldn’t feel this recklessly brave…)
Another difference between the U.S. and China? Pizza Hut is a place to go for dates. But unlike with the examples above, I don’t see myself acclimating to this.
Also, construction is everywhere—China’s all about that 现代化, or modernization.