English: A Chinese pagoda in Hangzhou, China.
English: A Chinese pagoda in Hangzhou, China. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have been living here in Hangzhou for about three months now…and I can honestly say that there is a big difference between the small city I have lived in for the past 5 years and here.  It isn’t all good.  Let me explain.


Some of the things I like about living in this big city is that it is more foreigner friendly. I mean I can find somethings much easier than in the small city.  I can find cheese, butter and other American necessities that I could never find in the small city.  There are foreigners everywhere as opposed to the very few you see in the small city.  I like the fact that there are restaurants that serve western foods that remind me of home.  However, there are some things I am beginning to really miss from the little city I lived in for the past five years.

One thing I miss is the friendliness. In the smaller town people took more effort to be friendly.  They attempt to talk to you even if their English is horrible…they smile and wave at you and act actually happy to see you.  Yes, there is the staring and pointing..but honestly that happens in the big city also.  I also miss the relationships I had with my students and their parents.  I am now teaching at a university and there is a distance between myself and my students that exists nw that i did not have before.  Currently, I hardly ever see the parents of my students and it has a different kind of feeling.

I think the most disappointing factor is the fact that I do not feel comfortable around the Western people.  There are Americans all over the place and I feel like I just don’t fit in with them.  They tend to complain a lot about the locals and …well..China in general.  They spend a large amount of time in bars and drinking.  They are not really nice to other Americans.  It is kind of a rude awakening to see your own people again and they act well…American.

The one thing I do not miss about America is what I see in the big city.  Rude, overbearing, disrespectful Americans.  It is sad that I don’t fit in with my own people anymore.  Makes me kind of fearful of when we move back to the states.  It is different when Chinese people are rude.  Most of them do not know they are being rude or that they are offending you, but other Americans know what is rude and what is not; they just do not care.

So, do I prefer the small city or big city? Honestly, it may chance the longer I am here…or it may be the fact that my husband is not here with me to buffer some things from me..but for now….I am missing the small city life.  Friendliness goes a long way in my book.


until next time…