We’ve been back in Canada for a few months now after three years in East Asia (one in Taiwan, two on the Mainland). Three years is not very long when you’re talking about cross-cultural adaptation, especially between vastly different cultural and linguistic contexts like China and North America. But it’s long enough to get your feet wet in a new language and culture, and to make you feel weird when you go back “home.”
We’ve pretty much re-acclimatized to North American life, meaning that we feel naturally, effortlessly comfortable in this cultural context again (though we didn’t feel this way at first) — except for one thing, for which I suspect China has ruined me forever.
Every time I open the fridge to get a drink, or even some fruit, I instinctively want to leave it on the counter for a while to warm up. I cringe inside at the thought of how cold the juice is in the pitcher. Really cold drinks hurt my throat now, and I can’t drink them as fast when I’m really thirsty. I never cared before. Now I can’t help it. China has ruined my relationship with refrigerators, probably forever.
Ok, China. I admit it. You were right on this one. Cold drinks are bad. Warm drinks are better. I’ve tried it both ways, and I’ve been converted. I’m scared to think what might be next: Beijing Opera? Walking backwards through the park? Rolling my undershirt up to my armpits in the summer? You never can tell what too much time overseas will do to a guy.
(P.S. – I hope you weren’t expecting something profound here. We’re busy with the new baby and getting our lives in order to move back to Tianjin!)