In case you were under any delusions about living abroad, it really, truly isn't easy. Here are some lows to keep all the great things I post about in perspective.
1. Me, Myself, and You Until we met up with a couple from Albany who happen to work with a handful of other westerners, Jake and I were pretty much like the children from Flowers in the Attic, only less extreme. Namely, we only associated with each other, which can get tiresome and difficult.
2. Rain Stinks Literally. After it rains the sewers actually fester with excess liquid and the city smells like literal shit.
3. Ça va? The guy who stands at the sometimes-open, sometimes-closed gate to our building is very friendly. I thought he said "Ça va?" yesterday, and I got so excited that he spoke French because maybe I could have a conversation with him. He didn't say ça va. He said something in Chinese.
4. Bacon Everything, friggin everything here is made out of pork than wrapped in bacon.
5. Grease Beware the restaurants because 10% of fried food in QHD is fried in "gutter oil." Gutter oil is pretty much like it sounds. It's recycled oil that's been dumped out, picked up, and quasi-filtered to be reused again. Unfortunately, you can't tell by looking at it. You can only sometimes tell be the taste or if you end up with some pretty awful stomach pain.
6. Tiny Zoo World The sheer amount of animals in cages being sold by street side vendors is horrific. Dogs, cats, rabbits, squirrels, guinea pigs, monkeys, and various rodents are packed into tiny cages where they don't have enough space to differentiate between their eating area and their bathroom area.
7. Landfill There is sooooooo much trash here. Just piled on the sides of the roads. Sometimes it gets picked up. Sometimes it doesn't. Consequently there are some ROUSes (rodents of unusual sizes) and, needless to say, an epic stench.
8. Mr. Brown Can Poo, Can You? Squatters are difficult. And squatters are smelly. Because most of the piping is very old, it doesn't accommodate toilet paper. Ergo, people put their toilet paper in waste baskets next to the squatters. You can imagine the smell.
9. Loogies It's just a thing here. People hock the up and spit them out all over the place. One guy, an employee at the office where we got our resident permit, just held his trash bin up to his face so he didn't have to lean over.
10. The Most Horrible Thing Yet (not for the faint of heart) Yesterday, I saw a white, homeless cat with no back legs being chased onto a busy street by at least three dogs. I don't know if the dogs were homeless. I could tell that the cat was dirty and clearly not cared for. They bit at its neck and the cat hissed and tried to fight back. I wanted to go get the cat but then I realized this terrible truth: there are no animal shelters here. I would have had nowhere to bring the cat. I couldn't stay because I was so overwrought with myriad emotions. I don't know what happened to the cat, but I have a pretty good guess.