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When I moved here the most difficult things (because I don't speak the language well yet) were:|
-- getting my cell phone set up (in the US there are no SIM cards & recharging cards, I didn't know what those things even were, and I'd never have thought to do those things at a tiny little newstand!)
-- getting the apartment utilities set up; I had to go to some strange building to get my gas turned on
-- paying bills; in the US we get bills in the mail, but here I pay some at the bank, some to my apartment office, I still don't have it straight!
-- getting internet hooked up
-- getting a bank account & ATM card
-- shopping in the kind of stores where they give you a paper, you go bring it to the cashier to pay, then bring it back to the girl & she gives you your thing you bought. That was unexpected, I was like, huh? go where? Why aren't you giving my thing I want to buy? In the US we take the thing up to the cashier, pay, then leave with it, all one step.
All of those things would be easy if my chinese was better, but I am at the level of being able to handle food shopping, buses, cabs, things like that. In the US when I was starting to learn chinese I didn't yet get to learning all those money words - talking about bills, banks, gas, electric, phones.... I had help with all those things when I got here.
Also, a good map is a great help. I have two maps - a tourist one with pinyin names of places, and an all-hanzi bus map. They are my best friends! If you want to help a foreigner, get them these two things! (unless they're rich and don't take buses)
I can read some hanzi now, but when I need to find a new place, I find it first on the pinyin map, learn the hanzi that goes with it, then find it on the bus map & plan my route.