Eventually my optimism returned and I started making a list of things I DID like (even prefer) in China.
1. Squatty pottys - why not? Better for your digestive system and gives you a little workout every day!
2. Umbrella culture: umbrellas are all-weather. If it's raining, you need an umbrella, not a rain jacket. If it's sunny, you need an umbrella. This is the part I love. Women have the opposite view on skin color that we do. We westerners view tan as attractive. They view pale white as attractive. Their skin cancer rates must be lower, and the mature women have smooth, not-too-wrinkly skin. I am always a sunscreen fanatic but now I'll add a good umbrella to my arsenal of skin protection. Plus, on a hot sunny day, it helps with the heat as well.
3. Food! Though I miss brats, cheese, and good beer (had to settle for 3.1% most of the time here), I don't actually miss American food that much. I found good Chinese food to be both satisfying and healthful.
4. Transportation. I got to ride a high-speed magnetic levitation train in Shanghai (aboue 300 km/hr!) and there is a great system of high speed trains and good buses.
5. WeChat. It's an app for texting/calling/messaging that is just really convenient and fun. Whenever I met someone there we'd always ask "do you have WeChat"? Phone numbers are so 2010.
6. Hangzhou green spaces. We have hiking in the hills right behind my building and I think the rest of the city does an above-average job carving out some shade and green space within the city.
7. Tea! Yum.