Updated: Feb 20
Traveling to China is an experience of a lifetime. I had the opportunity to live in China for the summer to complete a study abroad program when I was in college. I studied International Business and Coding.
I wanted to travel to a place where I didn't know anything truly about the culture, way of life, or even the language. I did not know where I was going didn't speak any English; however, I found that out quickly when I couldn't order food, and I just had to point at words and nod.
When you live somewhere for an extended period, you learn such a vast array of things about that place. So let's dive into a bit about the things I enjoyed while living in Chengdu, China.
The food! Authentic Sichuan cuisine is impressive. I lived for the food; it took a little while for my stomach to adjust to their food because there is a lot more oil and spice than I was used to. Hands down, my favorite food was Hot Pot. I had never had that before, and now I try to find it back home. The food here will never compare, but there are a few great places.
There were a few restaurants based on other cultures that I visited; one was an Irish pub, and the other was texas barbecue. The Irish pub was one of my favorite places to get food because they had Avacado French fries. This may sound like weird food, but it was amazing to the extent that I have tried to make them at home many times. To me, they can compete with the American version of french fries.
Of course, more foods are tried out, like chicken feet and such. I was not as adventurous as some of my classmates, but I still enjoyed everything I tried. Yes, I did have chicken feet.
Breakfast for me was rice with scrambled eggs in it. I had never had rice for every meal but it was just as prominent as the noodles for my meals. I actually ended up loosing weight eating this way.
Ice is a luxury. I never realized how much ice I used back home until I could not get it. To have ice, the water must be boiled first and then frozen to get rid of any impurities; therefore, most places don't have it. A huge surprise to me was that most drinks are served hot, like apple and other kinds of juices. This is to show the person consuming the beverage it is safe to drink because it has been boiled first.
The variety of drinks is quite different, although you can find sodas and such. There isn't much refrigeration, so dairy products aren't prominent where we were.
We also had so much tea, and I wish that I brought more home than I did.
Words I wish I knew
I wish I had known or did to translate the basics of what food I liked to make ordering easier. I only learned five words while there; the language is so hard to pronounce correctly.
The words I learned were:
Thank you - 谢谢
Chicken - 鸡
Chicken meat - 鸡肉
Hello - 你好
Goodbye - 再见
In part 2 of my Chengdu post, I will discuss living there and excursions.