No matter where we live, there are always good and bad things about the environment...as well as stereotypes of the area. Being exposed to a new culture only makes us more exciting and well rounded. Below are a few ways to tell if you've been accustomed to life in Asia....which is one of the best regions of the world!
1. You immediately take your shoes off before entering a house
Walking into someone's house (or even your own) you instinctively take off your shoes or flip flops. Not only is it more comfortable, but it also shows a sign of respect. Another reason for this tradition is that it is believed to be a health move. The Chinese have been studying foot reflexology for over 5,000 years, and being barefoot allows your pressure points to be stimulated. When confined in shoes all day, your feet do not have the chance to stretch and breathe.
2. Cockroaches are no big deal!
Cockroach...smockroach! These little guys (or often big guys...) no longer make you flee for the hills. Simply remove your flip flop or shoe, and smash! Although it may take a few encounters with them being desensitized, getting used to them eventually comes. This is probably comparable to how New Yorkers feel about mice. :)
3. You can handle the smell of stinky tofu and durian
When you walk into the marketplace, the first thing you normally smells is the durian and tofu. Although, once you have lived in Asia for a while these things might catch your attention at first then fade away into the background. In fact, you may have even learned to enjoy eating them!
Traffic Jam in Mongolia! Wow
4. You realize it's faster to walk, take a taxi, or ride a bus than to drive anywhere
Like any fast and furious cities, the traffic is extreme. Especially in heavily populated areas, you may be motivated to learn the bus schedule simply because the roads have become too frustrating. To drive in Asia you not only have to be skilled at quick moves and be able to think fast, you need to be confidant! Although during the work week especially, it may be easy to just let the taxi driver take care of this for you.
5. It's not weird if your snacks involve Hello Kitty
One thing you may have come to realize about living in Asia is that Hello Kitty is a powerful figure. She managed to get herself on food, clothes, hair products, cooking utensils, and just about everything. When you first arrive, you may feel like you can't go into a 7-11 without running into this animated princess, especially when the things she is on sometimes has nothing to do with her, cartoons, or cats! Hello Kitty is not the only cartoon that is on everything, the other popular one is Kareoke Pop Frog. Once you've been in Asia long enough, you will won't even be phased by the fact that your snack foods features cartoon characters :)
6. An umbrella and pollution mask are part of your wardrobe
Especially if you drive a motorbike or ride a bicycle, cloth pollution masks are very popular. Not only as a defense against pollution, but it is believed that they keep you from getting sick via other people's germs. Being in a large crowd does expose you to some airborne bacteria, so it may not be a horrible idea. And the umbrella is not just for rain anymore! It's also great as protection from that hot sun, without burning your neck or having to wear a hat.
7. You can bargain really well in multiple languages
A trip to the market place is an adventure. Once you live in a culture that accepts bargaining as the norm, you will definitely become addicted. Most vendors (especially in the night markets) are usually open to barter, so it ends up being a very good skill to learn. You know you've been doing it too long if you try to get away with it in a department store, though....
8. Crossing the street reminds your of playing "Frogger"
Street lights, and pedestrian crossing lights tend to be more of an option than a rule. To successfully cross a street, you know that you have to wait for that perfect timing between cars and run! If you ever played the game "Frogger", it is strikingly similar to this. After time, you will get good at it.
9. You put soy sauce and chili sauce on everything you eat
All of a sudden, everything you eat will seem to need more flavor. Soy sauce goes great on everything....and why not make it spicy too? Asia has some of the best chili sauces to offer, and they fantastic with almost everything you can buy locally at a restaurant. Once you get addicted to sauces, you will never eat the same again!
10. Seeing 4 or more people on one motorbike is normal
Upon first arriving in Asia, you may find it shocking to see 3, 4, or 5 people on one motorbike traveling at light speed through traffic. Some families only have one vehicle, and motorbikes are very practical for big cities. They park easier and take up less space in general. After you have been acquainted with this custom, you will no longer give it a double look. But, your visitors might!
11. Subtitles at the cinema become a second nature
Most movie theaters in Asia like to play the mainstream Hollywood features from the USA. Adding subtitles to the films caters to the locals who are non-English speaking, so they can enjoy the film too. If you have never been in a cinema that uses subtitles before, it may come across as distracting at first. However, after some time you will barely notice them anymore.
12. Dried squid, tea eggs, and fish balls are delicious
Yum. No, really. After being in an Asian city for a while, you will get used to some of the locally enjoyed snacks that may seem obscure anywhere else. Dried squid for example, tastes much better than it sounds and it's not uncommon to find it for sale at a sporting event. Hard boiled eggs that are cooked in a pot of black tea, and fish balls on a skewer are often found at convenience stores such as 7-11 and Family Mart. While some of these foods look distasteful at first, you will eventually learn to love them.
13. You're cool with eating things out of a leaf
Banana leaves are common for making steamed rice and meat mixtures, as well as other things. And it makes them taste great! If you've grown accustom to making these wraps or look forward to eating them, you have surely assimilated.
The Marble Soda Experience: Opening a bottle!
14. You love these:
Marble Soda. One of the funnest drinks that Asia has to offer. Basically, the soda itself is sealed with a marble and it comes with a device to pop it inside the bottle to open it. These sodas are often bubblegum flavored, but they come in fruit varieties too. They are the best! And while it may seem impossible to get the marble out at the end....keep trying! There are ways to get it.
15. You never want to leave!
The good often ways out the bad. You know you've lived in Asia for a while if you realize it's got a lot to offer, and you could stay forever!
Thinking about moving?
- The Pros and Cons of Living in Asia
To move or not to move?
If you are headed to Southeast Asia...
- Taiwan's Exciting Places
Top places to visit on the awesome island of Taiwan
Come check it out...
tastiger04 (author) on July 30, 2013:
Thank you, saltymick! Glad you are able to relate to it! Where is South East Asia have you lived? I am also open to suggestions for additions! I want to go back too, a visit right now would be great! I miss the food big time.
saltymick on July 30, 2013:
Oh mate, I love this hub... having spent a reasonable amount of time in South East Asia I could probably add a few more things to your list, but basically you've just made me want to go back - now! Terimakasi, xie xie and khawp jai lai lai.