Daily Life

If you have already learned 20 characters or taken 10 hours of Chinese classes, it is time for you to start learning how to type Chinese characters. This can make your study of the Chinese language and Chinese characters amazingly easier!

If you live in China, you know Wechat is your most essential phone application. Everyone that meet in China will have wechat and it is the best way to get together with your friends, keep in touch with your friends back home, communicate with colleagues, and post pictures and links on your Wechat moments. Even the Chinese Communist Party has a wechat account!

Wake up... time to put on a little Mandarin makeup! Learn how to say "lip gloss, foundation, hand lotion, mascara, lipstick, body lotion, moisturizer, blusher, eyeliner, eye shadow, concealer, nail polish" in Chinese.

Taking a train in China is always great fun. You meet all kinds of people, get to eat 方便面instant noodles without feeling bad about it and see a lot of the country. In my personal opinion, it is superior to any other kind of longer distance travel: planes are so impersonal and you don’t get to see much, coaches are very crowded and lack toilets, cars are like coaches with even more confined space.

You will inevitably pay some learning money when it comes to your life in China. If your Chinese is not up to speed and people realize it they will oftentimes try to get the better of you. This is not because all Chinese are out to get the better of outsiders. It is because as a foreigner you are likely to frequent certain places (e.g. the foreigner markets) where it is part of the business model to try to squeeze every penny out of unassuming 老外.

If you are planning to stay in Beijing long term, you are probably considering renting your own place. Your first and most straight forward choice is to find a real estate agent and go from there – as you will literally go to a lot of places to have a look. Your other option is browsing housing websites offering such services, most however are in Chinese and the few in English offer nicer places but at heftier price tags.

For some a relic of the past, the neighborhood markets today are still a thriving place of business where people get their fresh produce daily. Your ordinary market setup is about 70% fruit and vegetables, 20% fish, meats and other ingredients and, finally, 10% daily use items ranging from batteries to plastic tubs. Given the advent of the supermarket chains, both domestic and international, it seems like a small miracle that people still flock to the markets in droves.

Chinese are crazy about cars. And as a result of the economic developments most people are now able to afford a car or two. Due to this violent increase in car ownership demand especially in urban areas, the Chinese government had to devise ways to control it. Today, the issue of new license plates is an effective lever when it comes to curbing private car ownership.

Where it used to be just one or two random McDonald’s on the touristy main streets, there is now almost as much choice of fast food in Beijing as in some mid-sized US American city. For burgers and chicken you have Burger King, KFC and McDonald’s, for pizza you have Papa John’s, Pizza Hut and Domino’s, for all else you have Dairy Queen, Sizzler, Subway and Dunkin Donuts.

Being on a train for 24 hours may invoke feelings of nausea and annoyance in most reasonable people – reasonable people from small countries or with affordable air travel. But, it is actually nowhere as bad as you may be imagining right now. First off, try to make the trip a part of your holiday (or whatever else reason there may be for you going to Hong Kong).