A friend inspired me to write this post when she told me how rude I was, shoving people in the streets of Tokyo. “You do that in France, they will kill you!” Mmmh. So I guess this is what happens when you live in Asia too long…
I remember that day like it was yesterday. After a long flight, I arrived in Jakarta airport. I was hot and humid, people were screaming outside -mainly “yes, taxi”, “here, taxi, m’am!'‘, ”where you goin’ m’am?”. I was completely lost, until I found G in the crowds, waiting for me. We jumped in a cab, direction our hotel. It was like I had just landed in another planet. As I was looking by the windows, I saw all kind of things : kids taking their shower below a bridge on the highway, tuk tuk selling mops and brushes, five generations on a scooter… A first time in Asia is always something -starting in Jakarta was a bit bold I have to admit. Now it’s been six years since I’ve moved in the region. One in Indonesia. Five in Hong Kong. And I can tell all these things that used to amaze me have changed. Or maybe I’ve changed?
ed : this post has to be read with a second / third degree. I LOVE my life in Asia and I wouldn’t change it for the world.
You know you’ve been living in Asia too long when…
…you have no qualms about literally shoving people*.
*It’s not being rude, it’s trying to fit in! Because after a couple of years in one of the busiest cities in the world where people don’t really have the same concept of personal space as we do in the West, you discover it’s the only way to survive.
…you consider anything under 20 degrees is freezing.
…you’re no longer freaked out by the sight of cockroaches.
…you have mastered the art of eating with chopsticks -yep, even a beefsteak if you have to.
…you can’t live without a rice cooker anymore.
…your comfy pants have elephants drawn on them.
…you have forgotten how to pump your own gas.
…you’re not repulsed by the smell of stinky tofu anymore.
…you drink hot water, and you keep on scolding your friend for drinking cold water when they’re sick.
…you’ve forgotten how to speak English properly and find yourself speaking a kind of Chinglish to make yourself understood. You can have a whole conversation using hand signs.
…you don’t see what’s the problem driving a motorcycle in your flip flops.
…your drunken nights often end up in a karaoke club.
…your phone cover is two times the size of your actual phone. And it has ears.
…you could eat noodles at breakfast, lunch and dinner.
…you’re lost when you travel in a country where there’s no 7Eleven.
…you are more excited for Chinese New Year than Christmas.
…your weekend getaways always start with a minimum of 3 hours flight.
…you can see the logic to Asian rules of the road, when what looked like chaos at first is just a beautiful ballet.
…you sometimes remember back then when you thought Europe was so advanced on everything. And you laugh.
…you are a millionnaire. In Southeast Asia money. But still!
…you consider a dengue fever or an indigestion that ends up in hospital a common routine.
…you instinctively make the peace sign in all of your pictures.
…you can’t feel it’s a holiday until you’ve got a green coconut in your hands.
…you always push the button to close the doors in an elevator. Close close close! Especially if there’s somebody coming. Ok, maybe that’s just HK?