Yes, you may spit in public: Cultural Differences in Shanghai after 4 weeks

shanghai chian

[Photo taken on June 18th, 2015 while walking to the subway from IKEA]

It’s been two weeks since my last post(I haven’t sat down to write in a while) but I finally found time to write about a few cultural differences I’ve noticed while being here in Shanghai, China. Here are the main ones:

People are genuinely kind

For the most part, Chinese people in Shanghai tend to be kind. They smile at you, they laugh, and they help you when you ask for it. I haven’t had any issues yet(fingers crossed) but I don’t expect to either.

Chinese people are very superstitious

Often you will hear fireworks go off randomly around the city. Anytime a new store is opened, they shoot off fireworks to scare away the ghosts. The color gold is used to also scare away ghosts and “protect” certain buildings and stores. Also, the number 4 is unlucky because it is a homonym for the word death meaning it is the same word, but in a different tones in Mandarin and some other dialects of Chinese.

Spitting in public is socially acceptable

In public, common to hear people gathering up all the saliva and mucus in their mouth and then yucking it onto the street. It may be disgusting to hear and see but it’s most likely due to the air pollution that they have to eliminate all that gross stuff from their system. I

Men grow out their pinky nails to pick ear wax

I wish I had a picture to show for this but yes, some men will have long fingernails on their pinkies with the specific purpose of cleaning the earwax from their ears.

“scooterpooling” and “bikepooling” is common

Almost anywhere I go in Shanghai, I always see multiple people on scooters and bicycles. I carefully observed scooters and bikes when I’m walking and it seems as though almost all are built to hold at least two people. I personally think it’s awesome! They’re saving electricity(most scooters are electric) or just sharing a ride! I wish my bike back home had a seat on the back for someone- I’d give friends rides more often! I don’t have a picture I took but here’s one I found on Google Images so you get the idea:


Well, hope you enjoyed the short post with a few observations about cultural differences in Shanghai! Next week, I will write about what my experience has been like teaching English! Zàijiàn!



A look at-The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

the secret life of walter mitty

[Photo of photographer Sean O’Connell from The Secret Life of Walter Mitty]

“To see things thousands of miles away, things hidden behind walls and within rooms, things dangerous to come to, to draw closer, to see and be amazed.”

On Monday, my girlfriend and I celebrated our two-year anniversary together and went to the movies to see The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.  Here’s a link to the trailer if you haven’t already seen or heard of it. Also, here’s a link to download the free audiobook.

Basically, it’s about an average guy who works at LIFE Magazine and works with the photographers and maintaining the negative reels. He is interested in dating a new girl at the office but is too nervous to talk to her so he creates an account on eHarmony and ends up realizing that he really hasn’t done or seen anything “noteworthy” in his life. He’s always daydreaming about doing insane things like jumping through the window of a burning building or climbing Mt. Everest but he never does them. Then, one day, he decides to do something different and listen to the girl at the office who he’s interested in and he goes after one of the photographers in Greenland to find a missing negative.

The reason I wanted to share this movie on my blog is because I think the motto for the magazine(above) and the whole concept of the movie is galvanizing and makes you want to jump out of a helicopter or climb Mt. Everest or do something crazy and adventurous. The coolest part is that his life changes after a spontaneous decision to pursue one of the LIFE photographers in Greenland. He’s an average guy who buys a one-way plane ticket impromptu and just goes. The only thing he brings with him is a briefcase.

I’ve have said this before but I think we sometimes feel stressed out when thinking about how much planning should go into a trip such as one to Greenland and we let that hold us back from traveling or even doing adventurous things. Even though it is a movie and in movies, everything goes as “planned,” I feel more inspired to leave my comfort zone and do more things spontaneously because then I have no idea how the adventure will unfold and that excites me!

Whether you’ve thought about taking an adventure or not, I think you should go see Walter Mitty because it’s a great movie and maybe it will motivate you to do something you never thought you’d do. I want to repeat this quote one more time because I think it fits as one of the many answers to the question “What is the purpose of life?”

“To see things thousands of miles away, things hidden behind walls and within rooms, things dangerous to come to, to draw closer, to see and be amazed.”


O primeiro comentário do blog


Olá gente!

Meu nome é Joe Previte e estou estudando português na universidade.

Quero usar esse blog para praticar meu português e escrever de minha vida. Oxalá que você goste de ler sobre a vida dos estudantes na universidade como eu. Vou tentar escrever uma nova comentária cada quarta-feira.

Algumas coisas sobre mim: estou estudando na universidade para conseguir uma carreira dos estudos generais(Bachelor of General Studies em inglês). Sei falar o espanhol e inglês e gosto dos idiomas. Ensino o inglês em um site ótimo que se chama Verbling. Acessem o site caso queiram aprender um outro idioma. Vou fazer um estágio em San Francisco Bay AreaSan Francisco com Verbling de maio a julho porque em julho vou para a Argentina para meus estudos em na universidade de Belgrano.

Vou escrever mais numa próxima vez mas vai ser um prazer fazer esse blog.

Qué tenha uma noite boa!