There is one things that will make your life in China much easier if you have enough of it. No, not money. Patience. This almost magical thing that seem to run away from you when encountering enormous differences or difficulties. Wikipedia says patience is “persevering in the face of delay or provocation without acting on annoyance/anger in a negative way”.
During these past two days I’ve needed all the patience I’ve got while I was out buying products for my customer. Waiting was the big word no matter if I was at the bank, wholesale market or waiting for a taxi. Sometimes things just don’t work in a way and speed you want them to, especially when it comes to China.
Chinese people are optimistic, when ou ask when something happens or arrives, it’s always 马上 mǎshàng, right away.When is are the products going to arrive? Mǎshàng! When it’s going to be my turn? Mǎshàng!
The funny thing is, that mǎshàng can be anything from a minute to a week. When you want your landlord to fix your leaking AC mǎshàng seems to be stretched to the limits.
Speaking of time in China, always be prepared that something you need to do takes more than you tought. For example today I had agreed to pick up the products at noon, silly me for taking it graded that noon is around 12 o’clock. I ended up waiting more than half an hour.
Sometimes it’s not anyone’s fault but just bad timing or luck. In Guangzhou the time around 4:30pm is the worst for finding a taxi. Day drivers are finishing their day and can’t take you anywhere far as they have to go back. Of course I was once again in a need of taxi during this hour.
I had two big packaged with me and first waited for half an hour in front of the cargo company I use. I know the spot is almost impossible to get a taxi and didn’t want to take an expensive and unsure black taxi (meaning illegal non-official taxi). Instead I took a three-wheeled tuktuk kind of electric vehicle to the closest metro station where there would be more taxis.
I started waiting.
Taxis were full, finishing their shift or just didn’t want to go my direction. I admit that I live far from the city center, but I needed to go home anyway!
I waited for one hour and wheeled my two packaged to the metro station where I started to lose it a little bit. Didn’t know you’re not allowed to take in packages when the total weight is over than 30kg or/and height+length+depth is more than 160 centimeters. So back to the street.
After waiting for another half an hour, it has gone two hours already since I left the cargo company, I manages to find a black taxi diver to take me home for 120RMB. Normal taxi rate would be around 80RMB, but I was willing to pay the extra to get home.
The driver ended up being really nice and asked me a lot of questions about where I’m from and what I do. He also said my boyfriend is such a lucky guy to have me! I ended up giving him 10RMB extra as I think he deserved it.
Without patience you are going to lose your temper in China many many times, if not even daily. Things work differently than back home and we have to be prepared for that. It’s their country and they aren’t going to change just for us, so we better try our best to immerse in the new culture with all of its characteristics.
Being patient in a new culture will make everyone feel so much better and your life in China so much more enjoyable. Try not to get angry when things go the other direction. I know it’s easier said than done, but what I know for sure is, complaining about everything in China won’t get you that far. It will just make all of your days Bad China Days.
I think making all of my days Good China Days is a much better goal.