Thoughts from the past a few days in China

Today I went to a super cute vegetarian restaurant in Guangzhou called “xintian” (“field of hearts”). Unfortunately, the staff member was having a really bad day. It’s always sad to witness how much people hate their work or their life (even for a day). Nonetheless, I thoroughly enjoyed the interior design (this pic) and the food, and I hope he feels better tomorrow.

I’ve met a couple of Chinese friends since coming back to China. Some of them I haven’t met for 6 years and some are new. The entrepreneurial spirit is really high right now, not surprising, China is changing at a whopping speed, crazy spend. For real you gotta come take a look before Chinese people can’t even recognize the place themselves, plus it’s getting pricier and pricier every year, a meal can easily cost $10+ now.

Aside from my admiration for the convenience of the daily cashless transactions (all with mobile apps; my friend counted with one hand the times he used cash in the past month), and for the solid infrastructure everywhere, two things really stood out to me:

1. People are so distracted from the present. There hasn’t been a single meal where everyone is present. At least 2-3 friends would spend a few minutes or more on a phone right at the table right in front of you EVERY SINGLE TIME, without saying anything. Not even an iota of guilt is traceable on their faces, so blatantly they would disappear into the digital world. No one finds it weird except me. There were moments when everyone was messaging/reading on their phones during a meal get-together, leaving me wondering if I should start a new conversation or start checking my phone as well.

2. No matter how entrepreneurial they are, buying a house/apt is still the No.1 thing. I often feel that technological advancement hasn’t changed people’s mindset at all. The rat race is just running in a better-built cage.

These are the observations in the past 5 days. Tomorrow I am heading to a dance conscious community in the mountains! Ready for new insights 🙂

What I learned living in China for two months after being away for five years

As I walked in the bustling train station amidst droves of people, a mixed feeling of both familiarity and unfamiliarity arose. Part of my senses became alive at the sound of the local dialects, and the other part just wanted to retreat into the serenity of the redwoods.

Despite the initial waves of counter-cultural shocks, I have been re-grounding myself in the Chinese soil. I reconnected with some high school friends, traveled to a few places, and even spent a week in a Buddhist monastery. My once neglected mother tongue got brushed up again. My tastebuds rejoiced in the heartwarming Chinese food. Even my upper respiratory system is staying strong in the smog (knock on wood).

Being away for five years means that both China and I have missed witnessing each other’s growth. Among all the changes I’ve noticed so far, three things stood out to me:

1. Life is getting much more digital.

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