March 1, 2012

10 Things I Like About Living In China

We moved to China in 2008 and have learned a lot about China and ourselves.  Here is a list of 10 things I like about living in China.

The cost of living - Everything is cheaper here and that just makes life easier.  Food, housing, utilities, phones, even a bottle of Coke is less and at times significantly less than it would cost in the States.  I’m very grateful for this.

Good people - China is full of really good, sincere, nice people.  When we moved here we were so dependent on others for everything.  And even now we are in constant need of our Chinese friends.  I’m grateful for the friends I’ve made here and the joy they have brought to me and my family.

You’re never alone - This could fall in both the pro and con list.  Really you’re never alone.  Even at night when I’m sitting in my living room reading or on the computer I can still hear people just outside our building.  In the morning it’s pretty early when the buses start their routes.  It’s just life here.  I like this, but there are days where I don’t.

More exercise - You just walk more in China than you do in the States.  We don’t have a personal car (but I have bought an electric motorcycle) so I have to walk to get some basic things done.  I’ve enjoyed this chance to take walks and exercise as part of my life.

Better portions - Not only do you exercise more just by living in China, but the portions are much healthier.  I wasn’t super aware of this until I traveled back to the States and realized that it’s true.  Now if I could just stop ordering more of everything to make up for the better portions.

Life is never dull - In China we ride in taxis, trains, buses, subways, rickshaws, and electric motorcycles.  We get to watch the most amazing fireworks display each year.  We get to eat pig’s feet, frog’s legs and other random stuff.  Life is never dull.

I’ve learned more about myself - Moving to China was a tough transition in many ways. I had everything that I knew, accomplished, and made me comfortable taken away (ok, I chose to come to China, so it wasn’t taken away as much as it was given away, but you get the point).  This forced me to learn more about myself and to grow in new ways.  It wasn’t easy, but I’m glad to have gone through it.

You get to learn a new language - It’s a challenge that has pushed me, but has also rewarded me.  There’s nothing better than speaking Chinese with Chinese people, especially when they don’t expect you to be able to speak Chinese.  And when you can barter, oh man, so good.

You get to learn a new culture - I’ve learned a lot from the Chinese.  Things I would never have learned if I never left my native culture.  I’m grateful to the Chinese and although we have many differences in how we see the world and life I’m learning from them.

No driving, no car, and no car insurance - For many ex-pats this would be a negative, not me.  I hate driving, yes, hate driving.  Living in China I don't have to.  Not only that, but I’m also not paying for insurance, gas or car repairs and upkeep.  This is a HUGE pro in my book for living in China.

The food (and family style) - Chinese have some incredible food.  Some of it has taken me a little bit to get used to, but it is so good.  I eat WAY more veggies (and fruit) since moving to China, so that’s good.  Also, I really enjoy the family style eating.  This is where you order many dishes and everyone gets a little from each dish, as opposed to ordering your own meal and not getting much variety.

Here's more about what we do here in China.

with hope,
the petersons


  1. One of my favorite posts.

  2. I just found your site off of We are Grafted In! We also live in China, and have adopted from Ethiopia. It's nice to see another big family on this side of the pond.

    1. Hi Carrie! So glad that you found us through WAGI! It is so cool to hear of another big family on this side of the pond. If you guys are ever in Xian... look us up! -Matt

  3. The food was my favorite thing in China. Even shopping mall food courts offer healthy (very healthy!) options. And so delicious...