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I Lost My Retainers At School Today! What To Do?


Pianote
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Update: I'm just coming back from getting a work up at the dentist. I will get my new retainers next week. The place is in walking distance from my house and school.

 

Also, the dentist's teeth were brown and crooked. Should I be worried?

 

 

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Of course I'm not suggesting you stay in your apartment. I am saying that when you're overseas -- any country overseas -- you are well-advised to step back and move on, avoiding any conflicts with local residents. It doesn't matter who's right or who's wrong. Shrug it off.

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Of course there is no need to lock yourself indoors, but if you encounter a threatening situation, by far the best choice to get out of that situation is by de-escalating. Often, this means to walk away. Sometimes, you'll need to apologise even though you did nothing wrong (and then walk away).

 

If you carry mace, and if you would then mace someone, the situation is not resolved: the angry person is even angrier, anyone who saw it will now also be angry at you, perhaps the police will be called, perhaps other people will start to threaten you, and all this in a language you don't understand in a culture you are not familiar with. I assume you don't want this - you just want an unpleasant situation to end.

 

This advice does not go for all situations. Sometimes it's worthwhile to stand your ground. But in the situation you mentioned, just walk away.

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13 hours ago, Pianote said:

And yes, different culture. While I was running this morning this guy was hostile at me. He angrily pointed at me saying something and when I slowed up he acted like he wanted to fight me. I will start bringing my phone from now on.

 

Wow...synchronicity. My daughter just sent me a link to a post on her cousin's Tumblr blog that you might find interesting as it's on this topic (with some helpful references at the end):

 

https://tinyurl.com/ycyd8vp9

 

What struck me was the fact that as I was reading it, I confess, I was saying to myself, "Aw, I'm so sorry that Molly had these things happen to her" but another part of me was saying "wow, she needs to toughen up, I mean what woman hasn't been catcalled."  But then I got to the sentence where she wrote, "Because the problem wasn’t where or when or how I ran, the problem was those who were harassing me."  I felt ashamed (appropriately) that I had downplayed her experiences and never seriously thought about this issue before. I moved to NYC when I was 28 and lived there until I was 42; getting catcalled was so common that it just became background noise for me. But in New York, there were almost always lots of other people around, so I never truly felt threatened.  And Molly was talking about experiences that, often, happened to her when she was alone and in a different country (as you are). So…thank you for sharing your experience here as it’s given me an incentive to think about the problem of street harassment and to begin to see it for what it is…an unwanted boundary violation that can be terribly upsetting and unfairly put victims in the position of needing to change their own behavior in order to avoid further occurrences. (It’s also more grist for the mill for me as, in the last third of my life, I continue to unravel the influence of my upbringing and life experiences on my current psyche. (In this instance, for example, I see that my intense desire, as a child, to do whatever I could to minimize conflict influenced my lifelong acceptance of this inappropriate behavior.))

 

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8 hours ago, Pianote said:

I will get my new retainers next week.

 

Super!  Glad to hear that you got this worked out.  I still wonder what the hell happened to your other retainer.  My orthodontist told me I'll be getting a fixed retainer that I won't be able to remove and I'm glad because I'm the ADD poster child and lose things all the time.

 

You asked, earlier, if I've ever lived in China.  The answer is, technically, yes, if Taiwan is part of China.  My parents moved to Taiwan just after my 4th birthday in 1955 and we returned to the States in 1966.  When my parents moved our family to the town where my brothers and I were in boarding school, I began to ride my bike to school and had some difficult experiences that could be chalked up to cultural differences but those stories are for another time.

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Pianote, I just had an idea.  There's a forum for Taiwan expats called forumosa.com and I know that some women there created their own separate forum.  I'm not a member but I'm sure that they discuss issues such as the one you're facing and, while Taiwan in not China, maybe their thoughts/support would be helpful.  Or, perhaps, someone knows of a similar forum for women living in China.  The url for the forumosa women's forum is: http://tw.forumosa.com/c/women

 

 

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I haven't been on Forumosa for some years, but from what I remember it is pretty solidly Taiwan-oriented. I think for questions on China, you're better off here. (And I don't say that because I'm a moderator or anything, I will happily refer people who do live in Taiwan to Forumosa.)

 

I hope you don't interpret 889's and my advice as victim-blaming, that is certainly not what I meant. That guy who yelled at you was in the wrong, no doubt about it (even if you were doing something wrong, he could have told you politely). But goal no. 1 is not to get the other party to acknowledge you're in the right, but to get yourself out of the threatening situation.

 

For what it's worth, my 'walk away' advice also goes for men, perhaps doubly so. Nothing is gained by getting in a bar fight, for example, no matter how much the other guy was harrassing you or stepping on your foot or whatever. Just walk away. He has friends, if he doesn't have friends around his drunk compatriots will take his side against the foreigner, and if the police gets involved they likely won't take your side either. Swallow a bit of your pride, walk away and save yourself hours of hurt and hassle. Then call a friend who will be sympathetic and make you feel better.

 

And come back here anytime if you need advice.

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16 hours ago, LuDaibola said:

There's a forum for Taiwan expats called forumosa.com and I know that some women there created their own separate forum.

I've suggested that idea on here to folk on here a couple of times, but never to anyone who was massively enthusiastic about taking the lead and trying to kickstart the activity. If anyone likes the idea, say so.

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I think two reasons may be:

- There are not that many women on Chinese-forums, so a subforum would not get enough traffic.

- Chinese-forums is already pretty female-friendly. You can actually ask about where to buy tampons here, or where to get your legs waxed, without male fellow members going EWWW (and if they do, their post is removed). This reduces the need for a subforum. And actually I think it's quite valuable that male members get to occasionally see such posts. (This thread comes to mind as an example of what I mean.)

I guess in my view, a 'women only' subforum is a bit like a 'women only' train carriage. If it's necessary, it's good that the forum/the train company arranges for one. But it's far better when the women can just ride in the regular carriages. That said, if someone wants to start that subforum, I'm in of course.

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Is replacing a retainer as a foreigner in China truly more difficult than replacing one as a foreigner in a different country, say if OP were in Germany, South Africa or Norway?

As for the running incident...

On 4/26/2018 at 3:20 AM, Lu said:

Just walk away. He has friends, if he doesn't have friends around his drunk compatriots will take his side against the foreigner, and if the police gets involved they likely won't take your side either.

...is spot on advice.

Not advocating for retreat in all cases. He has his friends, but you have international society.
 

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1 hour ago, 歐博思 said:

He has his friends, but you have international society.

International society won't help you against the local police. Well, it will probably prevent you from getting disappeared or maltreated (as long as you're not ethnically Chinese, that is), but it won't help you in a bar fight, or if the police decide to blame you for things. Your embassy will contact you in prison and tell your family and such, but don't count on them to be able to spring you.

 

1 hour ago, 歐博思 said:

Is replacing a retainer as a foreigner in China truly more difficult than replacing one as a foreigner in a different country, say if OP were in Germany, South Africa or Norway?

I think replacing retainers is difficult in any foreign country. You don't know where to go, you don't speak the language, the new doctor doesn't know you and your teeth, standards and ideas on what is the right care might vary, etc etc. So I was happy to read Pianote's update, that she found a dentist nearby and is getting her new retainers next week.

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On 4/27/2018 at 7:41 AM, Lu said:

International society won't help you against the local police.

Oh I know. I realize I'm the visitor when in China no matter how long I'm there, and if someone's stepping on my toes there I tread a bit more carefully for the exact reasons you stated. But if I have 'home field advantage', then I'm more likely to speak up because I can't just "go home", like is sometimes said when one criticizes a foreign place, if I'm already home. And that's to say nothing of people who've lived longer in the 'foreign' place than in their birth place.

 

I saw that update too. Just hope she has a better running experience in the future.

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