“The happiest people do not have the best of everything, they make the best of everything they have”
I’ve been in Shanghai, China for just over two weeks now, and I’ve been happier than I have in the last year back home. Not because life here is any different, but simply that my perspective has changed.
I have felt a deep sense of gratitude towards the things I used to take for granted every single day. I don’t say this now because I didn’t feel grateful before but because I’m more exposed to it than ever. I see the way the Chinese culture is, and it completely amazes me. They are so hardworking, honest and positive people and they have NOTHING in comparison to what we have.
For example I was walking the other day on a very busy street and saw a child begging with an older woman, who looked like his grandmother. Some of you might argue that “they are paid actors” which sometimes is true but regardless – they are still begging. Children, at night, in the cold have to ask strangers for money.
In Montreal, living in a socialist society, we are fortunate enough to have government help and housing. You will never see a child out with his mother begging on the street.
As for the water in China: unless you can afford to buy tanks of purified water, you can’t drink it directly from the source. Water in Canada is so clean you can drink it straight from the tap. Imagine that; parks and public areas do not have clean water to offer its citizens.
Heaters in China are super expensive – so unless you are living lavishly, buildings and homes are not heated during the winter. I would walk into buildings and feel this immense form of gratitude that I could be warm…something I always took for granted at home.
Another crucial thing that’s missing here is drying machines. Yes, in China unless you import your machine from another country, you cannot buy a dryer for your home. Which is why you’ll notice clothes hanging from balconies of apartment buildings. Something SO basic, taking your clothes from the washing machine to the dryer – is a luxury over here.
Lastly, the “freedom to browse” online. In China, they block sites such as Youtube, Google or Facebook so you have to have a special system called VPN to be able to get access to them. Back home, it’s so simple to just open an internet page and click “google” yet here – that’s also a form of luxury.
All these things, that don’t effect me personally have an impact on others daily.
Since I’ve been here, I’ve never felt so grateful and so happy to have all the luxuries we take for granted every single day back in Canada.
So if you are worried about your microwave taking too long to heat your food, or if it’s “too hot” in your house, be grateful that these are your problems. Be thankful for what you have, as you are luckier than you think!
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