I live in China. No big deal…so do 1.3 billion other people. But most of those other people were born here. They belong. They fit. I don’t always fit. Sure I’m bigger than the average native Chinese so chairs, beds, subways, cars, clothes, tables, shoes, doorways are a challenge. Parts of me stick out, parts one generally wants to keep in. But it goes beyond the physical…there are psychological, emotional, intellectual, spiritual and downright metaphysical parts of me that don’t fit here.
Living outside one’s native culture, not fitting in, can be a thrilling adventure. It can also be a mind-numbing, pride-swallowing, ulcer-inducing experience. Why? Because living cross culturally will, like nothing else, reveal your own foibles, stupid assumptions and unfounded biases as you find yourself daily applying a self-administered dope-slap to the forehead as you ask yourself “now why did I think/believe/feel/act/say/do that again??”
The trick, I’ve found, to living on the razor’s edge of sanity is to find some outlet to release the stress. The human animal has invented many forms of therapy for itself, from outdoor recreation to recreational drugs. I’ve found that I feel better when I write.
This blog is dedicated to the notion that, while not necessarily a virtue, incompetence won’t kill you. In fact, it makes for good copy … and, after over 20 years of bumbling around China, I’ve got lots of copy. I share it with others because people like to feel a safe kind of Schadenfreude, to witness others’ mistakes and say, “Well gosh, at least I’m not that bad.”
This site is my gift to you.