Unexpectedly back in the US, I have to remind myself often of the good things I have here. People in China used to ask me whether China or the US was a better place. I used to respond that they both have strengths and weaknesses. Now I remind myself that my life in both places, though different, had and have both good aspects and not as good. Let me alternate through a few, eleven to be exact.
Advantage US: The food is safer here. That is, we worry less that unsafe food is going to hurt us.
Advantage China: Changsha has public transit; it's wonderful. The US built up around car culture, and now we all basically need them and their accompanying expenses. I hate it on a daily basis.
Advantage US: The air is cleaner here. The air pollution in Changsha is is nothing to sneeze at (but coughing is certainly likely).
Advantage China: In Changsha, basically everything you needed for daily life could be obtained just outside your door. In the US, residential and business areas are often quite separate.
Advantage US: In the US, my son can get the medical care he needs. In Changsha, he'd would already undoubtedly be mentally handicapped. (This is obviously a HUGE plus for the US.)
Advantage China: In Changsha my kids had regular playmates. I mean, we walk outside and there are all the kids in the development playing together outside. Here... You all know what it's like in the US: play dates, meeting times, etc. My kids have take a huge social step back.
Advantage US: In the US, I don't have to think about people going crazy about my kids, trying to touch them, prod them, etc. Here we're just a normal family, which I appreciate.
Advantage China: I miss the the renao, the commotion, of China. Social activities and social venues might be loud and busy in the States, but they're nothing line Changsha. On a recent date with my wife, did we pick a quite romantic location? Nope. It was a loud "grill and bar"/ We felt right at home.
Advantage US: The internet in the US is wide open, so I don't need a vpn to access internet content or blog. If I couldn't access Youtube, I'd have no way to take the courses in which I'm currently enrolled.
Advantage China: I had better reading times in Changsha. The 45-60 minutes I spent on buses commuting to and from work were great reading times. Now I'm busy at home (like I was in Changsha). I will be busy at work (like I was in Changsha). But given the lack of public transportation options in most of the US, reading times have become harder to locate.
Advantage US: The US public library system is amazing! Of course it could be better, as could all things, but I certainly won't complain.
Advantage (mostly) China: We're now considered a low-income family. That just adds a stressor I didn't have before. In other ways it's a positive: It will force us to be more creative; we'll rely more on faith; we'll truly be laobaixing. And I can be thankful that China taught me to be low demand with regards to my material environment.
So those were just a few I've thought of recently. There are others. Are there any that you have experienced when moving from one place to another?