Awkward Moments You May Experience in Beijing as a Foreigner

1 Coming back early in the morning while living in a courtyard(四合院) with a bunch of older Chinese people "Yeah, I was just getting breakfast……"

2 Misunderstanding(误解) a situation in Chinese and being completely in the wrong and then living with the shame(羞愧)

3 I don’t know…every hutong bathroom experience ever. No doors, weird problems. All conversations starters in a hutong bathroom are awkward conversation starters. Ugh.

4 Meeting someone in a professional setting after seeing them extremely intoxicated(非常醉) in a bar setting. Oh Beijingers and our relentless expatriate lifestyle.

5 When someone wants to practice their English with you but you just want to listen to music on the subway/not give an English lesson. How do you end the conversation without being rude(粗鲁)?

6 Overtly personal questions from strangers(陌生人) and blanket statements about your country. French people are so romantic(浪漫). If you are American, why aren't you fat?

7 Unfortunately and most likely accidentally getting yourself in a "shouting at walls" type of political conversation with a local. One of these conversations where no consensus will be made and people will just be screaming their ideas at one another

8 You speak Chinese. You should get a Chinese boyfriend/girlfriend! I know someone….You would rather take line 1 during rush hour than go on a terrible blind date(相亲) with someone you have nothing in common with.

9 Incorrectly assessing situations as being bargaining(讲价) or not bargaining situations.

10 Being solicited for things that you not want in Sanlitun or perhaps at a KTV

11 When things get weird on Tan Tan/Momo/Tinder or when a taxi driver asks you for your Tan Tan/Momo

12 Getting called or introduced as a 美女 or a 帅哥 in an office setting

13 Speaking Chinese to a ABC, BBC, a 华侨 "Actually, I am from California" Facepalm

14 Having a really inappropriate and private conversation in a public place with a lot of Chinese people then spotting a foreigner in listening distance. Oh no! You were not supposed to hear that!

15 When someone tells you a joke in Chinese or you tell someone a joke in English and the humor is completely lost in translation and it does not get any funnier after 5 minutes of explanation.

Kristen Carusos is from Atlanta, Georgia in the United States. She graduated from Kennesaw State University with a major in International Affairs and a minor in French. She studied abroad in China for the first time in Shanghai in 2010 and again in 2011 at Beijing Language and Culture University. She graduated and moved to Beijing in 2012 and has been studying Chinese since then. She works in the Marketing Department at the Sinology Institute.