Signs That You're An Expat In China

(...on the off-chance you hadn’t noticed)

1.  You need to turn on an invisibility cloak (VPN) when attempting to access the internet.  The internet then thinks you're in Wisconsin and gives you all prices in dollars.

2. You are counted among the 0.001% of iPhone users who actually use Apple Maps over Google Maps because Google and China are fighting about something.  You wish they'd make up.  

3. You paid €15,000 to have your baby in an international hospital.  You were slightly disappointed when the baby did not arrive encrusted in diamonds.

4. You wash a carrot four times, after peeling it and before cooking it.  You still spend much of dinner-time thinking the carrot might be toxic.  

5. You have been asked by total strangers how much your rent is.  Sign that you've lived in China too long:  you tell them.  

6. You always put socks on your baby...even when it's 30 degrees outside.  Because listening to the Chinese grannies telling you your baby's feet are cold is just - so - not - worth - it.  

7. Everything you buy is imported, even though it's made in China.  

8. You hide your stroller behind a tree when trying to hail a taxi because you know they won't stop otherwise.
9. You use your umbrella mainly to take angry swipes at cars that almost run you down.  

10. You see the Avocado Lady more often than you see your husband.  

11. Your 3 year old has a heightened sense of danger.  You cannot decide whether this is a good thing or not.  

12. While you insisted on Swedish rear-facing carseats for your children when you lived in you just hold them on your lap as your rickety taxi careens through downtown traffic and you slide back and forth along the slightly slimey back seat.  You pretend you're ok with this but inside you're weeping.  

13. You get extremely excited whenever a taxi has seatbelts.  The excitement dissipates after you touch them.  Thankfully, you always carry hand sanitizer.

14. When outside your apartment, 90% of what you say to your children is 'DON'T TOUCH THAT!'.  

15. You have to take out a bank loan to buy cheese.

16. You make your own yoghurt.  All your friends make their own yoghurt.  You talk about yoghurt a lot.

17. The most expensive things in your apartment are the air purifiers.

18. WeChat is your most utilized app.  Facebook is mafan (see no. 20) and Whatsapp is nowt but a poor man’s WeChat.

19. You think the lead levels of your bath water are an acceptable conversation topic for a dinner party.  The other people at the dinner party think so too.

20. Your English has become infiltrated by a smattering of Chinese.  


- I'm not making dinner tonight - too mafan (troublesome).  We're all having toast.

- Me (to Little A): Stop giving me mafan and get into the bath.
- Little A:  The chongzis (insect) are biting me!
- Me:  Well get over here and put on some wenxiang (insect repellent) then.
- Me:  We're going outside now to play with your pengyous (friend).
- Little A:  Mei you pengyous - no one's outside yet.  

- Me:  I need Jiu (alcohol)
- Mr Oh: What kind of Jiu do you need?  
- Me: Eh...Putao Jiu (wine), Pi Jiu (beer), Bai Jiu (Baijiu)…any kind of Jiu really. Not fussy.

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