So where do I begin? This is a damn good question. I cannot believe where time has gone. A year ago, I was heading into the unknown and I have been living the “expect the unexpected” life ever since.
What can I say about my year in China? From its ups and downs, to its drunk, happy, sad times, the surprise visit from my mom, to one of the highlights of my year – going to the Great Wall of China! Sitting there in peace, it was a dream come true and I loved every minute of it!.
In life we will experience many things and China living this expat life, these things seem to happen so fast. From making fast friends who become your family, adapting to new traditions and making a home for yourself.
Life is so easy and cheap once you manage to put your blinkers on and not be too fussed by the racism if you of a darker skin tone( not something I often ignore considering where I come from). The staring, the spitting, the yelling, the full buses and bad taxis and bus drivers. Once you master the art of ignoring those things, you will fit right in. Saying Ni hao (hello) and Xiexie( thank you) will come out so naturally while the Chinese yell laowai (foreigner).
When forced to deal with so many cultural differences you are forced to gain a lot of patience and overcome many challenges. I am still deadly afraid of groups of Chinese people. I like individuals lol. Do not travel around China during any festival or national holiday, get out of the country, you will thank me later!
I have grown into the confident young woman I am today and see myself living my dream each day. I take my hat off to all teachers across the world now, having wet my fingers in the teaching pool. It’s a hard job. I thank every teacher and lecturer that has ever taught me; I now know what a hard time it is to be a teacher. If you have that passion to teach and shape minds of the young people, it can be one of the most rewarding jobs ever.
I know each child I taught may not remember me in a few years. Knowing I had a chance to help them improve in some small way, makes putting up with China and the small nuances I didn’t like, bearable.
I have tested myself in so many ways. I can now confidently say I like young kids. A few months ago I wasn’t so sure if I could do this but now the pressure is off and I am as silly as 3-year-old. I have improved as a teacher and I managed to travel. My dream was accomplished by lots of perseverance and hard work. I cannot forget all the support and love from my Chinese sisters and my South African sister, bestie and friend. Without her being with me along the way, I don’t know how I would have managed. So Stacey, if you are reading this, a thousand times Thank You!!
If you are at at a crossroads and weighing up future options…. I highly recommend that you travel and just see the world. Even if it’s for a short stay, you don’t need buckets of money and you don’t need any excuses. My advice is do it and do it now!!
Here are a few of my round up China pictures from Hangzhou where I lived, my trip to Beijing and Suzhou and bits of Shanghai when my mom came to China Town!
Peace love and Happiness