Re-education Day

Today was my first day back in Beijing after being away for three months, and as is always the case following an extended stay 'outside,' I had to spend a good deal of time and energy figuring out how to 'do life' all over again. 

Here is my list of the top ten things that I found myself having to re-learn today:

1. How to cross the street.  Yikes!

2. That I need to take my own bag to the supermarket or pay to get a plastic one.

3. How to breathe in coal dust without coughing.

4. How to gracefully (or not) get out of the back seat of a taxi.

5. How to use the automated electronic kiosk to pay my electricity and phone bill. (fortunately there was a sweet bank worker to offer assistance).

6.  How to stand in line. (don't — just gently push)

7. How to say 'hello' and 'thank-you' in Chinese sign language. (my housekeeper is deaf)

8. That the bathroom light switch is OUTSIDE the bathroom door.

9. How to use a vpn to connect to the internet.

10. How to make a call to the US when my cell phone is out of minutes and my landline has been shut off because a bill hasn't been paid in three months — USE SKYPE!!! (it took me about 12 hours to figure that one out)

Leave a comment and tell me what things you find yourself having to re-learn when you return to China after being away?




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3 thoughts on “Re-education Day

  1. Thre one that always gets me is lifts/elevators. In the UK they go down to [G] for Ground, and [1] is the first floor. Here 1 is at the bottom and I spend a few moments looking for the hidden [G].
    It’s worse the other way round when I keep getting off at the first floor back in the UK…

  2. Once, after I’d been away for 6 weeks, tired and jet-lagged, I stood in my bathroom at 4am, blinking dumbfoundedly at the smooth white tile wall.
    The light switch had vanished.
    I had turned on the light, because lo, it was shining above me. But now that I was ready to turn it off, the switch had vanished.
    Poof. Nothing but smooth white tile.
    I finally stood on the edge of the tub and unscrewed the lightbulb and went back to bed.
    The next morning I found it. Outside the bathroom door.
    Sneaky light switch.