When you live in Asia, or abroad anywhere, it’s natural that you might pick up a few habits after watching the locals. There’s nothing wrong with these habits while living in a foreign country, but once you return to your home country it can seem a bit odd that you do this thing or that thing. The readers who have lived abroad know exactly what i’m talking about and i don’t even need to make a list. You’ve already thought of 3-4 funny habits that you picked up while living in another country. But for simple amusement, here are a couple of small habits or tendencies that i picked up while living in China (but none of these are the very worst!)
- I tend to drive more aggressively and use the horn more liberally.
- I’d often rather eat with chopsticks than a fork.
- I don’t typically honor the standard American’s personal space requirements.
- I have a hard time standing in lines.
- I have a tendency to think that walking long distances (to the store or to a restaurant) is not really a big deal.
- When I’m alone in my car i think about my next conversation and start translating it into Chinese. For example, if i’m on my way to order food at a drive-thru, i’ll start planning ahead to know how to make my order in Chinese.
So there are a few little habits i picked up in China, but again, these are not the worst. What i mean by the worst, is that my very worst habit is the most embarrassing. It’s also the one i can’t seem to kick no matter how hard i try. I will mentally prepare for it in advance, but i still get suckered in to the same ol’ actions every single time. So what is my very worst Asian habit?
When the elevator door opens i will always start trying to force my way on before everyone has a chance to get off.
In China, this is accepted as totally normal. Everyone’s pushing and shoving and the people who are waiting to get on will force themselves into the elevator while those who need to get off will be shoving their way past those who just got on. It’s a mess.
In America, this habit tends to create very awkward moments where i’m always saying, “Oh i’m sorry, after you.” or, “Oops, i didn’t think anyone was in the elevator. I’m sorry.”
So what was the spark the made me think to write this blog post? I just spent the last few days living in a hotel and this habit manifested itself almost every single time i used the elevator to go to my room.
Okay, your turn. If you’ve lived abroad, what’s the worst habit you’ve picked up?