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Why I Stay In China

Popularity 11Viewed 3407 times 2014-12-23 07:19 |System category:Life| life, China, Chinese, people, expats

Before coming to China in 2011, my impression of Chinese people was that they are clean, honest, kind, organized, orderly, respectful, wise, thoughtful and honorable people. When I arrived here, I realized that I had romanticized my ideas about Chinese people and culture a bit to much and a bit naively. I'm an eternal optimist and certainly expected a lot. Of course, my ideas quickly changed after living here a short while.

In 3.5 years, I've had a handful of people try to blatantly cheat (or try to cheat) me out of money, I've been verbally attacked worse than I can recall ever being attacked in my life, I've been ridiculed for being a foreigner and have been the object of jealousy more than a few times. The other ideas I had about China have been challenged and some proven wrong as well.

HOWEVER, these negative experiences represent perhaps 5-8% (in my estimation) of my time here. I will admit that I've had far more negative experiences here than I ever had in the USA, but, I think there are several reasons for this. One, I'm a foreigner in a place where there aren't many foreigners (Henan). Two, my pay as a teacher is quite a bit more than Chinese teachers. Thus I'm viewed as being 'rich'. Three, I've received a lot of public exposure and engage in a lot of public activities where I'm seen as a leader. Leaders simply are going to be attacked and criticized more than others.

So, suffice it to say that I've had some negative experiences that I wouldn't wish on an enemy. But, I stay in China because of the other 93-95% of the people here. In fact, most people are what I imagined Chinese people to be. Some are not. Most are. It is really that way no matter what country you go to. I find that these Chinese people are all that I imagined and represent the majority of people in China. For example, my English corner 'family'. They treat me like I'm some kind of celebrity. It is almost embarrassing sometimes because they treat me so well. I've made friends here that I feel closer to than most of the people back in my home in the USA. I love serving them in helping them with their English learning. They say things about me that I never thought about myself. They say that I'm patient, caring, loyal, giving, etc. I feel that I'm just being what every person should be.

I stay in China because the majority of people are good. I tolerate and deal with the ones who aren't because I know they are the exception here and not the standard.

(Opinions of the writer in this blog don't represent those of China Daily.)


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MichaelM

Michael is the author of the transformational book, Powerful Attitudes. He is a professional educator, an educational consultant, an author. He lives in Zhengzhou, Henan Province. He enjoys playing guitar and writing poetry. He loves China.

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