Going to China for three months has been a real experience for me, where I learned many things such like discovering a new culture, a new way of living where habits are not the same at all than in France.
The adaptation was first complicated and as it was the first time I was travelling alone without my family, it was hard for me to adapt myself and get some independence.
Here you have to do everything by yourself and get motivated to do visits, discovering the country and of course people who are living there.
We were not in a big city of China, it is still a developing city as we can see that a lot of buildings are in constructions. So it helps ourselves to see China as we never thought.
We first think about Shanghai, Hong Kong but actually Kunming is not the same at all. There are complete different cities.
Shanghai and Hong Kong are more like « European » style whereas Kunming is still the real China, like here very few people speak English !
And I found that pretty incredible as I thought we could be understood by them pretty easily because they could talk English, but actually it was not the case and we had to make us understand by many ways except by the speech.
We have tried « sign language » where we mimed what we wanted but even here (except money sign) they have different signs.
For exemple the figures are not the same. 1,2,3 are the same but after it is different for them so we learned how to do these figures.
I really loved this because we make an effort to integrate ourselves in this country and people there really liked it. Sometimes they wanted to learn something in English or in places where we went often, they welcomed us with a big smile and say « hello! » « how many ? » they also made an effort for us, but not everywhere !
Then, the food as well was surprising as in France, Chinese food is not the same at all.
There you do not have the usual « Cantonese rice », « Chinese noodles » or « pork with caramel ».
You have a big diversity and here we eat a lot of dumplings, rice (of course), beef cooked in different ways, roast duck, noodles in soup… And it was very good !
But that is true European food misses a lot, fortunately for us we found Mc Donald’s or restaurants that make European food like Pasta Bolognese or Carbonara with very good desserts because here finding desserts with chocolate is pretty difficult.
The landscapes here is also not the same.
The place where we lived had many buildings, little shops but looked like a small district. And if you take a didi to go to the other side of the lake, you have nature, a big view on the lake, small houses, temples…
I did not visit a lot in China, I moved on many places next to Kunming but not in Shanghai for example during my vacation. I probably will during another trip but I had no the motivation to get over there right now even if I know that I would had like it for sure.
I think big places are more exciting and motivating, because it is true that Chenggong is not the best place to be even if we had a great hotel and pretty good restaurants there, it is true that it is not where you have the most big ambience of China.
You have some pubs that are pretty cool as well where you can discover many people, of course more Chinese people than foreigners but nevertheless we met some Spanish, American people.
Chinese people are very kind overall, they love foreigners and will try to do their best to accomplish what you would like. Sometimes they are a bit disrespectful by taking pictures without asking and I did not adapt my mind to their split on the floor and when they were clearing their throat. It is disturbing and disgusting at the same time, but it is something common here then we had nothing to say about this.
Actually I appreciated my expatriation there because I could discover a lot of new things I did not knew about China and discovering Chinese people, their habits like tea ceremonial that Chinese people do to show a sign of respect and it was very interesting as tea is the first drink in China and represents a lot in this country.
I also learned a bit of Chinese, Chinese signs and some traditional things they love showing to you when you talk to them.
I think I would go back to China, maybe not in Kunming but in bigger cities where variety exits because that is true European way of living misses and sometimes having a good restaurants or talking at least English is so much easier rather than always having your phone and get Google translate to make us understood.
Anyway, it was a very good experience, full of discoveries, happiness, sadness but I will leave China with my mind full of memories that I will never forget and tell to my family as soon as I get back because I enjoyed a lot these three months.