1. Everyone thinks you're beautiful.
Of course I know the uglier truth, but it doesn't hurt your self esteem to hear "ni hen piao liang"(you are very beautiful) a few times a week. I am going to feel so unloved when I get home.
2. Cheap takes on a whole other meaning.
Where else in the world could I do my weekly fruit and veg shop for £7, travel for an hour on a bus for 20p, or get a taxi home from the other side of the city for less than a fiver? Saving on the big things (like pomegranates and sweet potatoes) leaves more reminbi for the majorly overpriced western necessities like cheese and Zara clothes.
3. You can talk about people without them knowing.
"That woman looks so rare with that pink scarf over her head", "these people just walk so damn slowly", "this country is RIDICULOUS". Those are just some of my favourite insults, and the best bit is, nobody understands when I say them, so I can say them as often and as loudly as I like. I'm going to have to learn to control myself again next year.
4. You don't have to talk to anyone you don't want to.
Annoying street sellers, cold callers, taxi drivers when you just are not in the mood - language barriers really can be wonderful things. And even if I do understand them (about 2 percent of the time), I can feign ignorance and continue on my way.
5. Free things.
On my first night out in Tianjin, the Club Manager gave us a free bottle of whiskey just for being white. The first time I got on a bus, the bus driver let us ride for free because he couldn't be bothered/didn't know how to explain to us how we had to pay. Okay so it only saved us 20p, but that's 2 red peppers in China.
6. Keeping fit is inevitable.
This place is so huge, that even if you use public transport you're walking enough per trip to burn off at least half of that gong bao ji ding (thats kung pao chicken for all you non-Mandarin speakers) that you really didn't need.
7. Tomato chili flatbreads.
Seriously. Its like pizza bread, but better, and it only costs 25p. Just don't eat it before putting on your pollution mask - spring onions don't make for pleasant breath.
It couldn't get much better, right?