It was an accumulation of things I found increasingly hard to ignore, such as his criticism of Western women who he would condemn for being overweight, aggressive and too easy and my deteriorating patience with his personal habits the stomach-churning sound he made as he spat in the bathroom sink — a daily habit of most locals — or his insistence on wearing the same unwashed clothes for several days in a row. We Brits have been brought up to consider personal hygiene and table manners as second nature. So when you move to a country where talking with your mouth full of food, street-side nasal cleansing and communal squat toilets are a feature of everyday life, you have to develop higher tolerance levels along with a strong stomach.
But in the end the sight and sound of my beloved slurping his way through a dish of noodles, his face half an inch from the bowl as he sucked the meal into his mouth like a top-of-the-range Dyson, was enough to extinguish any flames of passion. I have now come to the conclusion that my romantic endeavours will always be severely tested while I remain in China.
My sweet and sour dating experience: An expat career woman on Beijing flings | Daily Mail Online
I am faced with two options: My extended stay in Beijing has also rendered me a complete misfit back home. After six years away, my speech has become a cacophony of English and Chinese, decipherable only by fellow bilingual expats. I have picked up lifestyle habits most Westerners would find bizarre — the weekly cupping therapy that leaves me looking as though tiny spaceships have landed all over my body, the flask of hot water and green tea leaves I religiously carry around with me — and I find little in common with those who have no experience of a culture outside their comfort zone.
I am not only an alien in China; I have become an alien in my home country, too.
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