We have lived in China for about 3 1/2 months now, and it's starting to become normal to us. I find myself thinking in chinese much of the time. Sometimes when I see people on the street, I can't tell if they are chinese or caucasian. It's all becoming normal, and I sometimes don't see China through the eyes of a foreigner.
There are two moments in my life when I really got that "China" view of this country. The first one happened about 17 years ago when I first came to China. We arrived in Beijing late at night and made our way off the airplane and in to the terminal. As we came closer to the building, we saw a girl inside the building cleaning. She was wearing a blue uniform that looked like the typical "communist" uniform. She had a long black braid of hair hanging down her back. She was wearing a pair of cloth shoes (Mary Jane style) like the ones you typically think of when you think of China. She was using a straw broom to sweep the floor. My husband and I looked at each other and commented that we were really in China.
Today I had the second of those "china" moments. I was standing waiting for a bus when a construction worker from the country came and stood beside me. He was wearing some blue work pants, army green tennis shoes, and an army green jacket. He also had a floppy straw hat. He was eating a bowl of noodles with chopsticks. He had a scraggly goatee and mustache. I don't know if I described the picture very well, but he just looked like the typical "China" man that you think of when you think of this country.
Today I had one more "China" moment when I went to Walmart. I was standing at the counter waiting for the clerk to package up some fresh steamed meat buns for me, when another couple came up with their grocery cart. Suddenly there was a loud flapping noise. I looked up and saw that they had a live fish in a bag in their cart. Yup....I'm in China. As everything around me becomes more and more normal, I'm glad that sometimes reality slaps me in the face and reminds me of where I'm living.