20 Signs You’ve Been in Asia Too Long

Without a doubt living abroad changes you. It challenges the things that you thought were the norm and shows you that perhaps there are other ways to do them. You pick up new habits and shed old ones that you realise are not so relevant anymore. And you learn that not everybody on the planet has cereal, eggs or toast for breakfast.

Of course, a lot of what you learn and become depends on where you are and what you are surrounded by. So here are some tell-tale signs that you’ve been living in Asia for too long…

  1. You can eat ANYTHING with chopsticks, including chicken wings, salad, pizza, and nuts
  2. You often buy shoes based on how easy they are to take on and off
  3. You ALWAYS have packs of tissues in your handbag
  4. Mayo or thousand island dressing on pizza doesn’t seem quite so weird anymore
  5. You can tell the difference between Japanese, Korean, Tagalog (Philippines), Cantonese and Mandarin
  6. When you watch American TV shows and see people lie down on their bed with shoes on, you go ‘EWWWWW’
  7. A loaf of bread has only six slices
  8. Rice for breakfast is totally okay
  9. You can tolerate the smell of durian. Barely.
  10. 1000 square feet suddenly seems really, really massive
  11. A dessert can have red beans and still be sweet
  12. Your geography is real, real, REAL good. Like, if you could go back to O’Level geography, you would put the geography teacher to shame
  13. You now know what to do with the bowl of boiling water they put on your table (wash out your bowls and spoons and chopsticks before eating)
  14. In a public toilet, you use the squat-style toilet instead of the Western sit-down toilet because you know squatting is cleaner
  15. When you go back west, everything seems really, really expensive
  16. All of your DVDS have subtitles in Bahasa, Thai or Chinese
  17. You make sure to say ‘no sugar’ when ordering a drink like tea or juice
  18. You go into a restaurant and seat yourself at a stranger’s table without asking
  19. An adult man in a Mickey Mouse t-shirt is no longer an odd sight
  20. When someone Asian says, ‘You’re chopstick skills are so good!’  you’re offended — as though you’ve been using chopsticks your whole life!!

Got any more to add? What other signs have you noticed that you’ve been abroad in a new place for a long time?
















4 thoughts on “20 Signs You’ve Been in Asia Too Long

  1. So true! Except for the durian…never got used to that. 🙂 I’d add that you get used to having house staff (or an amah, depending on where in Asia you live) and forget that people in the US will look at you very, very strangely if you mention it. And that you can ask how to find a restroom or a train station (etc) in half a dozen languages!

  2. I’m afraid not Charles — my ear is only as good as differentiating Guangdonghua and Putonghua! I do have a friend though who can tell between accents from all over China, it’s amazing.

  3. You start to genuinely reach for the KPop, Korean dramas and soju over Western pop, tv shows and your usual rum 😉

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