In China’s big cities like Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, life is pretty” internationalized ” meaning shopping, food, entertainment, information standards are mostly at an international benchmark. Living costs between Guangzhou and Seattle is much higher. For example, a grande ChaiTea Latte costs USD4 in Starbucks in Seattle, but it cost 38 yuan($6+) in Guangzhou, China. A Polo shirt costs about average $40 in US, but over RMB1000 (almost $200) in China. Guangzhou has a high cost of living, as does Beijing and Shanghai.
A bread from the BreadTalk shop for example costs RMB7-8 ($1.2-1.3), three girls at least ate three in the afternoon and three next morning for breakfast. Each day I would spend between RMB50-80 ($10-15) just for bakery items.
A spot where I felt it every day in Guangzhou while living there was that I bought some bakery goods in Guangzhou for girls daily before I went to pick up them from school. My “mommy heart” realizes it is a long day for them (7:00A – 5:00P) though they do get a longer lunch break than US kids. From what I heard though, the school lunch was really yukky. I always got to feed some hungry kids as soon as they saw me. I found a yummy whole grain bakery called BreadTalk.
In Bellevue, WA, just the other day, Louie and I had a Genki Sushi for lunch in the Factoria Mall. The total cost for the two of us was less than $20, which is much less expensive than Guangzhou. Our girls could eat more than us. In China, the cost is always over RMB200 (USD40) just for our “three little piggies”.In Gangzhou, there are lots of good restaurants from Hong Kong (like my favorite Jade Garden for dimsum), and the US (Burger King is girls’ favorite) and Southeast Asia (like Genki Sushi from Japan) are all very popular but expensive. Talking about Burger King, it is actually not as popular as MacDonald’s in China even though I think Burger King’s burger is so much better. But Burger King’s each burger costs at least RMB24 (USD4) or more. A dim sum morning tea at Jade Garden for 3-4 people easily costs RMB400-500 (USD70-80). Yikes! It was saved for a special occasion.
Most of our friends in China are businessmen or women, and we became friends because of children were in the same school. So we our families got together a lot to go out. For example, we might go out on the new year day (Jan 01), had dinners, went to Karaoke or join our friend Moon’s Coffee shop where there was live music performances. I also enjoyed some afternoon high tea or coffee — which are the mommies’ favorites. Of course, when the mommies get together the topic is always and forever ALL ABOUT CHILDREN. The moms might discuss information comes from Wei Chat (very much like Facebook), Wei Blog, QQ and similar chatting groups. We compare notes about raising children and our lives and such.
I think that now with the technology, people feel the world is smaller. In some ways, we all live in the same village. However life styles in different parts of the world are different; and certainly living expenses are a big part of that difference.