Love: Ancient culture. I love being surrounded by a culture that has such ancient roots, going back thousands of years. Even the language is the longest constantly spoken language in the world. Which makes it confusing, but completely awesome!
Hate: Spit. People spit on the streets all the time. And not just a short little spit. Like, cough it up and huck a loogie kind of spit. Right by my feet. SO GROSS!!!!!
Love: Church. The branch here is absolutely fantastic. Everyone is united by their love of God, a knowledge of God's love for Chinese people, and a desire to help China in some way. I love being a part of such an international group from completely different backgrounds, united in this wonderful purpose and frame of mind.
Hate: Staring. Yes, I am white, good job for figuring it out. I am so sick of people blatantly staring at me. And its bad enough when the person on the subway stares at you for 15 minutes, but its even worse when they stare at your body, looking you up and down, with no shame. This has only happened a few times but it makes me feel so gross and hostile. Look at me again and I'll punch you.
Love: Food! Oh my goodness, there are some fabulous restaurants here. Talk about dumplings, yogurt (China's yogurt is GREAT!), soup, Chinese bread, Japanese restaurants, Italian restaurants, it is so good! Gosh I love food.
Hate: Bad food. Unfortunately, campus doesn't have much good food. Which means that every day for lunch I have to resort to bad food. The campus cafeteria food is basically various vegetables and meats smothered in oil, rolled in salt, and polluted with MSG. Ugh. I hate those three things. They make me bloated, grouchy, and fat. Not a good thing.
Love: Traffic. I love meandering through traffic, its so fun! Its like solving a jig-saw puzzle or playing a computer game. Only your life is in the balance, ha ha! But seriously, every time I successfully cross the street when the crosswalk wasn't on yet, I feel so successful and authentically Chinese. Its great not having to wait for your turn in traffic.
Hate: Human roadblocks. Chinese people don't understand how to move out of the way. If they're walking towards you, they'll just run into you. Its so obnoxious. Or if they're walking in front of you, sometimes they'll get distracted and just stop right in the middle of the walkway so you can't get around them. Or in the subway, when its clear you need to get by to get off, they'll just stare at you and not move. MOVE DANGIT! YOU'RE WASTING MY TIME!
So pretty much every day is this mix of really high highs and really frustrated lows. I suppose that's better than having a completely mundanely average experience though. China is anything but average.