One of the facts of blogging is that it is always easier to complain, and perhaps our tendency to find gripes, misunderstandings and drama most blogworthy mischaracterizes our experiences as a Fulbright family in Guangzhou.
The fact of the matter is, after a difficult period of adjustment we are as comfortable and content here as we have been in other places. We like our work, we have developed friendships and extra-occupational commitments and activities, we are happy with the children’s school, the neighborhood, and easy metro access to the rest of this substantial city. Just like anywhere, there are some aspects of our living situation that are unsurpassed (e.g. we love the campus life) and others that are less than ideal (the kitchen is awful). We have lived in many places, and I could create a list of wonderful and not wonderful things about each one.
On top of that, there is China. I feel a fondness for the Chinese people in the aggregate. I admire their enthusiasm, energy, optimism regarding their own potential and the potential of their country to make progress (even as my definition of social progress is not the model of consumerism and economic development espoused here). There are things I find less than ideal, too, though I have come to understand many of these less preferred qualities (e.g. belief that democracy is not for China) as aspects of cultural difference (e.g. absence of creedal basis for national identification and moral order).