Westerners might not be familiar with the character on the right, even if it’s one of the most popular cartoon characters in China: Xǐ Yáng Yáng or the “happy goat”.
I swear I saw this some days ago in the street: Chinese guy in his 40s riding a bike with a nazi helmet and a trench coat while smoking with a long cigarette filter. I want to think he was an actor or something. Anyway, for those of you living in the West, this is not a common occurrence in China, I think.
I’ve never been too fond of flowers and trees.
I mean, I was ok with having them around but I never paid them too much attention. Perhaps spending the last few years in one of those dry cities in northeast China changed my perception, because now I find myself as happy as a kid on Christmas at the first sight of the cherry blossoms, which are the first flowers to bloom here. Maybe, the only way to understand this feeling is to live in a place where nothing grows on earth, besides dust, for four months or longer. Before living here I would have laughed at those people that gather around the cherry trees taking photos with their mobiles and tablets, giggling at each other in mutual understanding, but now I’m just one more of the crowd.
Cherry blossoms announce that we finally defeated winter (even if we’re still freezing our asses because they turned off the heating in mid-March*), and that soon there’s gonna be more flowers (peach blossoms, roses of every color, lotus flowers!) and young couples making out on the benches.
For me, it also means that I finally have the strength to begin working on a project I’ve been postponing for a long time, which is this blog with drawings and cartoons about expat life in China.
English is the lingua franca of the expat community, so it has to be the language I use when targeting this audience, even if I’m not a native speaker. I’ll be grateful whenever you let me know about any mistakes you find. At the same time, I would also like to make this blog accessible to people out of this context, so I’ll add explanatory notes that may feel redundant to those who actually live in China. Sorry about that.
But enough with the talking, and lets see some drawings!
* Because of energy saving policies, the houses in the northern half of China are only allowed to have central heating from mid-November to mid-March. The southern Chinese are not allowed to have central heating at all, which means that winter can be much tougher in some areas where temperature doesn’t actually get that low.