I know, I know, January 1st was weeks ago. If you set any New Year’s resolutions for 2018, you might have already forgotten them by now. Did you know that 80% of people give up on their New Year’s resolutions by the end of January?
To all the expats living in China, I have good news for you. You have a second chance to set resolutions. Chinese New Year begins February 15, 2018. Whether you forgot to make resolutions the first time around or have already called it quits, now’s your time to try again!
Here’s an idea: Why not take advantage of the fact that you’re in China? Set some Chinese New Year’s resolutions, ones that exclusively benefit people in China.
Here are a few ideas.
1. See more of China
I’m not discouraging you from exploring the entire Asian continent. When I had time off work, I had a blast visiting Thailand and Japan!
But keep in mind that China is a huge nation. There are numerous things to see in this country alone. You might return to Asia one day, but who knows if you’ll ever be in China again? Make the most of your time here and see as much as you can!
Walk along the Great Wall in Beijing. Bungee jump in Shanghai. See red pandas in Chengdu. Hike in the Longji Rice Terraces.
2. Enroll in Mandarin classes
If you learn a little Mandarin, your quality of life in China will improve immensely! You can order food at restaurants, converse with your Chinese co-teachers, and ask for directions when you inevitably get lost in the foreign country.
You may choose to sign up for private Mandarin classes. If this idea intimidates you, find a small group of friends who are all interested in learning the language. I signed up for weekly courses with three friends who were all beginners, and we had so much fun together! Learning the language became an activity with friends rather than a chore.
3. Try all your province’s traditional dishes
Sichuan Province’s dishes are mouth-numbingly spicy. Hunan food is also spicy, but with sour flavors added in. I lived in Guangdong Province, where seafood was its trademark.
Not only do provinces have special flavors, but they also have special dishes. In my city, Shenzhen, Cantonese dim sum was popular. If you live in Beijing, try Peking duck. If you’re in Guangzhou, taste roast suckling pig.
Ask your Chinese friends for insider information or do some online research. Compile a list of traditional dishes in your area, then set out to try them all!
4. Make a bucket list for your city
Whether the area where you live is big or small, there are definitely attractions you’ll want to check out. To ensure you see everything in your city, make a bucket list specifically for that area.
I wish I had thought to do this while I lived in China. Although I saw a lot of Shenzhen, there were several classic sights I never made it to.
5. Take a cultural class
After a day of teaching children, it’s easy to go straight back to your apartment and collapse on your bed. I say this from experience!
One day per week, though, go from school to a class that will teach you more about Chinese culture. China is a country with a rich, historic background, and you’ll be happy if you learn more about it.
Consider taking a class in calligraphy, quilling, or playing a traditional Chinese instrument.