China Diaries: A Day In The Life

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It snowed today! Trenton and I woke up to snow flurries falling from the sky. I walked out onto my balcony and saw white roof tops and the park in the distance drizzled with a spritz of snowy magic. Part of me wanted to spend the day snuggled up inside, away from the cold, but Trenton had some errands to run around the city so we bundled up and headed out.

We have pretty much gotten the lay of the land around our apartment. We have explored all around, tried all sorts of restaurants, joined the local gym, and even met some locals who speak a bit of English. But today, we stepped out of our newly formed comfort zone, and took a cab to the mall which was a fifteen minute drive away.

Trenton needed some new workout gear so we went to Decathlon, which is essentially a Chinese version of Academy. Trenton picked out a handful of dry fit shirts- but when he tried them on- they looked so off! The seems weren’t asymmetrical and it was way too short- though the width fit him well. I couldn’t help but think- you can tell these are made in China! Have you ever ordered something online from China that looked really awesome and fairly cheap and once you received it you regretted buying it? Well that’s kinda how this store was. Everything looked awesome but there always seemed to be something wrong with each product. I even found some protein bars, but when I looked at the nutrition facts I saw that it had like 3 grams of protein per bar- which is hardly a protein bar. haha. So it was an interesting experience… It’s like you go some where and it looks so normal! It looks like it should be American standards, but then you look a little closer and it’s not.

Anyways, he needed the shirts so we decided shoddily made shirts were better than no shirts. We then headed to Dairy Queen. I know it’s wayyyy to cold to be eating ice cream, but both of us had been craving it so badly! We tried Chinese ice cream a few weeks ago but it wasn’t that great. So we went on a hike through the city to find it. After about a mile of walking, we entered another mall where the Dairy Queen was located.

There is literally SO many malls in Chengdu. Like every where I go I happen to find a mall. And half the time, the stores are empty! It’s like they just build malls for the sake of buildings malls. Apparently having a certain number of malls makes the country look better from the outside- like it makes China look like it’s doing super good economically and financially when in reality they have no need for all these malls.

We explored the mall,  tried on some clothes (hence the mirror pic above! Chinese style is so extra, but it’s growing on me!) got some blizzards, and then headed outside to find a taxi to take us home. But no taxi came. We waited and waited… and had no idea where we were since we blindly followed our GPS to take us to the Dairy Queen. Thankfully, a young Asian guy and his girlfriend spotted us and asked if we needed some help. He was able to use an app on his phone and call us a cab- thank the Lord!! He said Asian people are really shy and often won’t talk to Westerners- which is why we weren’t able to get a cab to stop for us. The guy was so nice, and I’m pretty sure we’d still be out wandering the streets if it weren’t for him!

So that was our day. Sorry this post wasn’t all that exciting! I’m really tired from walking all day and my brain is fried from trying to learn mandarin all week. I think I’m going to go head down to the market now to get some apples because I am dying to have some apples and peanut butter! Have a great night- or day- depending on your part of the world!

Have you ever been stranded in a foreign country before?! Have you ever ordered clothes from China and been disappointed or pleasantly surprised by what you received?! Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

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Hey ya'll! I'm Courtney, and I'm a Florida-born gal learning to live in East Asia. You can find travel tips, fashion inspo, and my daily adventures right here on my blog. My hope is that this blog will help inspire you to live your best life! Make sure to check out my book, The Smart Girl's Guide to Surviving Her Twenties, for more tips on how to survive, and thrive, throughout the most transformative decade of your life.

51 thoughts on “China Diaries: A Day In The Life

  1. Your photos are beautiful! The first few especially 💜 I’ve never been to a foreign country, much less stranded in one, but I think it’d be a little terrifying when you don’t speak the native tongue. That’s so nice that guy was able to call you guys a cab. What a lifesaver! I know I try to avoid buying clothes from China (if it’s shipped from China at least) online. Everything is so cheap (with delayed shipping) but I don’t think it’s ever really worth it lol. It’s usually better to spend the few extra dollars on something from the states.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I’m loving all of your posts about China! It’s a shame that you weren’t able to find good clothes – I’ve definitely had experiences where I’ve ordered something online and it just didn’t live up to my expectations. And the whole technique of building malls and shopping centres to appear prosperous is something the city I was born in in Russia did a lot too, but I guess it’s good for people who genuinely want to shop without enormous crowds :’) All the photos in this are great too!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Gorgeous pics! The beanie with the bow is really cute. 🙂
    The post sounds like a regular day in the life of an Asian in America.
    You can probably now empathize with an Asian trying to learn English. 🙂
    Few thoughts on your observations –
    American clothes were a size up and ill fitting for me too, from what I was used to in India, when I first came to US. It took some trial and error to figure out brands that fit well or stores that were better than the others. I think clothes are typically manufactured to fit the body shape and structure of the country’s population, and as for the quality, I guess you get what you pay for, isn’t that always the deal!

    Is there a demand for protein bars in China? May be there food provides most of their protein needs so they do not rely on protein bars for 30g of protein! American standards are for America, may be China has different standards?

    As for the empty malls, I think a decade ago malls were all the rage, but with online shopping the declining mall culture is a problem all over the world. So I can see how so many malls may not necessarily mean China projecting its financial wellness or may be it is, I don’t know, but that is something to ponder upon. It may be as simple as their city planning has not caught up with technology yet.

    The number of people who stop to help a foreigner is fewer than we think, even in the most hospitable environments. It is just fear of the unknown ( most times language barriers. ) I am glad those nice people helped you out (they may be people who are slightly more confident about conversing in English than everyone else around you at the time)

    I have never been to China, but from the experience of spending one half of my life in India and the other half in US, I have come to realize, there is almost always a reason for why people or places are the way they are, historical, cultural etc. not necessarily wrong or right, just different! There is always more than what meets the eye!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s so great to hear from another Expat! Your perspective on things gets me thinking. I never thought about the malls being so empty because of online shopping being on the rise. Definitely something to think about. And you are right, the fear of the language barrier can make anyone not want to help out foreigner.

      And I have been getting more natural protein here than I normally do so that is a plus! The food is so much cheaper here so I can afford lots of meat on the daily 🙂

      And yea, the clothes are definitely designed for the Chinese build. I’m glad I’m not the only one who has to go through the trial and error process of finding clothes that fit!

      I really do have a better understanding of what it’s like to be an immigrant in America now, and I’m sure I’m going to keep understanding more and more as time goes on! Thanks for your comment, it’s so interesting to here your thoughts! 🙂

      Like

  4. Chengdu is a nice city. I lived there before and now I am living in a coast city in China. Your picture are beautiful. Thank you and your photographer to share us this.

    Like

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