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Why I’m Coming Back to China

Submitted on Dec 5, 2012 10:00am byGeorge Ding

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Can you spot George?

你能认出George吗?

Two months ago I decided, like countless expats before me, that it was time to leave China. Well, after spending two months home in America, I’ve decided to come right back.
Now I know what you’re thinking: Didn’t I just go to this guy’s going-away party? How the hell did he get his old job back? Didn’t he just sell me his bookcase?
I don’t have time to explain all that right now, but whoever bought my bookcase: I’m going to need that back.
Since arriving back here, I’ve had many people ask me, “I thought you were sick of China. What convinced you to come back?”

两个月前,我决定,就像我之前的无数移居者一样,是时候离开中国了。
但是,回到美国家里呆了两个月后,我又决定马上回来。
好吧,我知道你在想啥:我不是刚参加过这家伙的离开party吗?他得咋样弄回他原来的工作?他不是刚把他的书柜卖给我吗?

我现在还没有时间解释这一切,但是那个买了我书柜的家伙:我得把我的书柜要回来。
自从回到这儿后,就有很多人问我:“我原以为你讨厌中国呢。是啥让你回来的?”

First of all, I never said I was sick of China.
Second of all, I’m even more sick of the United States.
So why did I do it? Why did I come back after leaving with such fanfare?
This is going to sound crazy but I missed not having to use coins. Buying a pack of gum and getting three pounds of change back is just crazy. Plus they make your jeans sag.
Another reason is that I couldn’t find a job worthy of my extensive resume. Most employers didn’t give a lick how much China experience I had, and those who did were surprised that I didn’t pick up Mandarin in the five years I spent in Beijing. As if a language made up of squiggles is that easy to learn. In the end, I couldn’t even get a job teaching English in the States, because apparently you need like a Ph.D or something.

首先:我从没说过我厌恶中国。
其次:我更加厌恶美国。
所以我为啥要回来呢?为啥在我这么高调的离开后又回来了呢?
听起来可能有点傻,但是我想念不必使用硬币的时光。只是买个口香糖,结果就找你一堆重达三磅重的硬币,这太傻逼了。另外,这些硬币(装在口袋里)可以把你的牛仔裤都压得垮下来。
另一个原因是我根本找不到一个工作能配得上我那多姿多彩的简历。大多数的老板们根本不会在意我的中国经历有多么丰富,而那些在意的就很惊讶我在北京呆了五年竟然没学会普通话。搞得好像一门由各种波形曲线组成的语言是多么好学一样。最后,我在美国甚至连教英语的工作都找不到,因为显然你得先有个博士学位之类的啥的。

Honestly, I thought I’d feel more at home back home, but let’s just say that home wasn’t exactly where the heart is. In fact, being home is downright unbearable when your parents are constantly nagging you. When are you going to get a job? When are you going to move out of the basement? Did you take $40 from the cash drawer?

老实说,我原以为在家我会更有家的感觉,但是这么说吧:家并不完全是你的心所在的地方。事实上,当你的老爸老妈不停地唠叨你时,呆在家里显然让人无法忍受。你啥时候会去找工作?你啥时候会搬出地下室?你在钱屉子里拿了40美元吗?

If I’m being perfectly frank, I also missed not being the center of attention just because I was foreign. I hadn’t counted on the fact that going back to my home country meant that I was not going to be a foreigner at all.

掏心窝子地说,我也想念不会因为我是个外国人就要被围观。我还没指望我回到祖国就意味着我完全不是外来户了。

I hadn’t anticipated the reverse culture shock of going back either. Cars stopping for me at crosswalks made me feel self-conscious. I’d talk shit about people in English, forgetting they could understand the language. More than once I was thrown out of Abercrombie & Fitch for haggling and insisting that their clothes were knock-offs. And the prices. $2 for a bottled water? $20 for an ironic T-shirt? $7.95 plus tax for Kung Pao Chicken, not including rice?! Financial crisis my ass.
Then one day, after my mom made me clean the basement, I delved deep and asked myself: Sure, you can get ice water everywhere, but what good is that when you can’t hire an ayi to clean your room for you?So I told my manager at Starbucks to shove it, took $40 from my parents’ cash drawer, and bought a one-way ticket back to the only place that could handle a pimp like me.

我也根本没有想到回家后会有反向文化休克。汽车在人行道处为我停车让我觉得好自觉啊。我也会用英语谈论别人,完全忘了他们也能理解这语言。不止一次我因为讨价还价和坚持说他们的衣服是次品而被人扔出了Abercrombie & Fitch(服装品牌)店。而且,一瓶水就要2美元?一件文化衫就要20美元?宫保鸡丁要7.95美元还有税,还不带送米饭的?!我TM要破产了。

然后,有一天,在我老妈要我清理地下室以后,我深深地问我自己:当然,米饭和水哪都有,但是当你都不能请个阿姨来帮你清理房间时,这有啥好的?
所以我告诉我在星巴克的经理老子不干了,在我爸妈的钱屉子里拿了40美元,然后买了张回唯一一个能搞得像我一样的皮条客的地方的单程票。

And what can I say? It’s nice to be back. It’s nice to not tip and not be harangued by the waiter or chased out of the restaurant by the ma嬀/font]tre d’.It’s nice to illegally download movies and not have Comcast cut off your Internet. It’s nice to not have to use coins.

我能说啥呢?回来(中国)挺好的。不用付小费、不用被服务员指责或者不会被经理赶出饭店,挺好的。能非法下电影而没有Comcat(译注:美国最大的有线系统公司,相当于中国电信)来断你的网,挺好的。不会只能用硬币,也挺好的。

Go ahead, call me a Loser Back Home. Just know that this LBH makes 300 kuai an hour tutoring rich people’s kids. I wouldn’t trade that for all the YouTube and Facebook in the world.
If this trip home has taught me anything, it’s that the country you live in is like a wife. Sometimes, when you’ve been in one place too long, you start to wonder what else is out there. So you flirt with other countries and realize that, holy shit, they are all crazy or super high-maintenance.
What I’m trying to say, China, is that those other countries didn’t mean a thing.It’s obvious we still need each other. No more running around, I promise. No sir – this time, I’m here to stay.

放马过来,叫我“回家的屌丝”吧。才知道这个LBH(?)辅导富小孩能每小时赚300快钱。我可不会拿这来换油土鳖啊、Facebook啊啥的。
如果这次回家的旅行让我学会了啥的话,那就是你所在的那个国家就像是你的妻子。有时候,你在一个地方太久,你开始想外面的世界有啥呢?所以你和别的国家调调情,然后意识到,靠,他们全是疯子,或是保养费高得要死。

其实我要说的是,中国啊,那些其他国家和我真没发生啥。很显然我们仍然需要对方。我发誓,再也不到处乱晃荡了。这一次,我将在此停留。