You Know you Live in Beijing When…

This is a tongue-in-cheek post about what it’s like to live in Beijing. Some of my friends were nice enough to offer some thoughts about their time living here as well.


You Know you Live in Beijing When:

You’ve accidentally peed on yourself while using a squat toilet.

You’re completely used to people staring at you, and you’ve started blatantly staring back.

You find yourself singing along to the Chinese version of a western song.

You’ve started doing the “Chinese hand wave” to indicate you don’t want something.

You’ve been given fake currency by an ATM, and now no one will accept it.

You’ve given at least two Chinese people English names.

You no longer question which type of meat you’re eating.

You’ve been poked in the eye by an umbrella in summer.

You’re used to seeing people peeing on the street.

You’d elbow past Mother Theresa if it meant you could grab a seat on the subway.

You’ve had at least one full-blown screaming match with a tuk tuk driver.

You’ve been robbed.

You’ve used a toilet without doors.

It’s perfectly normal to see a kids butt cheeks first thing in the morning, and you’ve become used to split pants.

You know you live in Beijing when

You try to close the elevator doors before more people can squeeze on and set the alarm off.

You’ve had so many photos taken of you it wouldn’t surprise you to see your face on a billboard somewhere.

Before throwing out an empty bottle, you check to see if there are any old women collecting them nearby.

You’ve seen a cockroach the size of your fist.

Seatbelts? What seatbelts?

You’ve had doctors discuss your test results in front of you as if you weren’t there.

You don’t blink at commuting an hour each way to work.

You’re either pooping too much, or not enough.

Your mood is dependent not on the weather, but on the level of pollution outside.

Beijing Pollution


It’s normal to see couples wearing matching t-shirts.

You no longer get offered a spoon instead of chopsticks.

You’ve been raided by the PSB.

You take hand sanitiser with you everywhere, since not even hospitals have soap in the bathrooms.

You’re used to seeing people sleeping in public.

You can tune out the noise of people spitting on the street.

It’s normal to see chicken feet on the ground by the bus stop.

The toilet often looks like something from a horror movie.

Instead of goodbye you say “bye bye”.


One comment on “You Know you Live in Beijing When…

  1. Irish Travel Blogger April 17, 2015 @ 2:30 pm

    Absolutely no way would I want to live there after reading this! The pollution is enough…

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