This latest change allows for each couple to have two children, something most couples were already permitted. It is certainly not a “scrapping” of the policy, as many headlines have screamed. And after decades of the government telling people they really don’t want more than one child, not everyone wants to take advantage of the latest change.
One of the things I appreciate most about my new life here in Sydney is that there are lots of moments that remind me of China – meals at Chinese restaurants, snippets of Chinese conversation with classmates, hearing Mandarin spoken about me almost every time I’m out in public… It really helps me on the days homesickness lifts its head.
I love the reminder that this world can be small. It’s a good thing to think on as I prepare to leave the place where I met many of the closest friends I’ve ever had. Not bad thoughts to dwell on during my last visit to the Great Wall of China.
I am obviously foreign in a country whose citizens are, for the most part, quite ethnically homogenous. I stand out. Not everyone sees past it all and connects with the person underneath. I love when it doesn’t matter that I’m a foreigner.
These interactions are something I’ll miss when I leave. They make me love speaking Chinese, and the way it helps me think from another culture’s viewpoint. It makes me want to learn more languages, and live in more places.
He was short and wiry and wrinkled, wearing loose clothes and a cloth cap. He looked like a peasant grandfather, the kindly type who smile a lot. As it turned out, Mr Zhao was nothing like I initially assumed.
Imagine you are at a party at someone’s house when suddenly a house plant starts talking to you. Perhaps you would ignore it, ask if the person next to you heard it, or try talking back while laughing at the situation. I am that house plant.
A large part of cultivating Good China Days is changing assumptions and expectations. Here are a bunch of things that help me adjust my attitude toward China – and create space for days that make me love this country, and its people.
It can be a little hard to get things done during the Chinese new year holiday week. Many people leave town, and many businesses close. A normally full bike lane had a grand total of three bikes. It looked strange, almost eerie.
Last week Driver Shi told me some stories about his family. He doesn’t talk much about himself so it was quite a treat. He casually dropped in that he used to own and run a restaurant! I can easily picture him as the brains of the operation.
Xiao Chen thinks it’s great how much I’ve travelled, that I speak Chinese and enjoy Chinese food. What truly stunned him was my explanation that in western food potato is considered a staple (starch) food more than a vegetable.
In Perth with my sister I took a ferry to Fremantle – complete with dolphins, watched State of Origin, went shopping, visited a Beijing friend at a cidery in the hills, and saw a play. It was a great time, with clear air and cider. Then I went home.