What I Miss About Living in China

Reverse Culture Shock: former expats finding re-entry into their hometowns to be challenging.



I’ve been home from China for over a year now. If you read my post Life After China you’d know that since coming home things have changed and I’ve decided to stay for awhile. With that being said, there are days where I still experience reverse culture shock which can sometimes make things extremely frustrating for me. In the video above, I touch on some what I miss about living in China.

Below is a list of the things I miss:

Eating Out

Going to a restaurant in China was relatively inexpensive, I mean even buying a large bowl of Chow Mein noodles would only cost me 8 yuan! That’s the equivalent of $1.60 Canadian. Now when I order a bowl of Chow Mein at my favourite Chinese restaurant in Toronto called Swatow, I’m delighted because it’s absolutely delicious but in comparison it’s hella expensive! It costs a heft $ 13.99 compared to $ 1.60 which I pay in China.

Being a “celebrity”

I miss being a local celebrity. No one and I mean no one in Toronto wants to take photos with me or even talk to me here…unless it’s some creepy guy trying to get my number or someone begging me for change.

Affordable Transit

Taking transit in China was so inexpensive. The most I ever paid to get on a bus or subway was 3 yuan, which is less than 60 cents Canadian! Here in Toronto, if paying by cash it’s $ 3.25. With that amount of money I could have taken 5 trips on the bus in China!

Taking Taxis

Speaking of transit I also miss taking Taxis in China. I mean finding a seatbelt in the backseat was rare but being able to negotiate a price sometimes was great. I’m pretty sure it wasn’t legal but it was so cool!

Going Grocery Shopping

Going grocery shopping was something I enjoyed doing. In China I’d often leave the store with two bags filled with food, usually worth about $20 Canadian. Here it’s quite different, I’d be lucky if I could grab 6 items for less than $20.

Work-Life Balance

When I was teaching in China, I usually worked a maximum of 20 hours a week, unless I had to clock in some overtime hours. It was great, especially because I could survive off that salary. Here in Canada, it’s not that easy.

On top of that I had quite a bit of vacation time compared to my previous office job here in Canada. In China I got two full 18 day vacations, and  two full 7 day vacations. I thought it was a great deal until my friends who worked for international schools told me they time off for every American holiday and every Chinese holiday!

Inexpensive Travel

Speaking of vacation time, I miss how cheap it was to travel within Asia! Because it was so cost efficient I was able to visit several different countries during my time there. Here in Canada… it’s a little bit more difficult.

Those are the things I miss the most about living in China and of course I also miss the people, especially my students.

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