Our flight to leave China is getting closer and closer. It’s been a whirlwind experience with some great memories. What will I miss about this fascinating country?
1. The Hospitality of Locals
Before coming here, I heard some hearsay about how rude Chinese people can be. Firstly, China has 1.3 billion inhabitants so you really can’t generalise. Secondly, I have received some wonderful hospitality from people here. From being invited to people’s homes for meals, being shown around hometowns, and even just somebody on the street offering me some soothing cream for my mosquito bites. Even with my limited Mandarin speaking skills, people have been so kind and welcoming.
2. The Children
If you read my 6 Things I will Not Miss in China, you’ll have noticed the one about teaching. Please, by all means, do not think I have disliked teaching here. There have been challenges and stressful days, but overall is has been a very positive experience. This is mainly due to the (mostly!) wonderful children. Some of them are a real joy to teach. Grade 1 class 3 ALWAYS shower me with tight hugs when I enter the room. A boy in my drama club gave me a Christmas Card and a New Year Card. However, I received them at the same time, with a note from his mum saying he was too shy to give me the Christmas card, so he wrote me a New Year Card instead. She insisted the Christmas card would be fine, even though it was late, and so I ended up with two cards.
3. The Beautiful Landscape/Cityscape
China is a beautiful country. From high rise buildings in huge cities to karst mountains nestled into the heart of the country. Hop on a train, bus, or even plane (but be aware of the environment taking lots of domestic flights), and you’ll end up in a completely different part of China, with its own culture and landscape. There is so much of this country to explore.
4. New Friendships
This isn’t technically about China but about the experience living here. Anywhere you go, you make new friends. I’ve made both Chinese friends and English speaking friends from other countries. I’ll really miss everyone. Meeting up with fellow teachers to talk about politics and the struggles and joys we all face teaching has been great – and a few crazy nights out of course. Learning about Chinese culture from my fellow Chinese teachers and friends has also been a great experience. I have a Chinese colleague who is so honest with me and she’s really opened up my eyes to life in China and the pressures people can feel. She’s also made me realise how lucky I am to embark on the journey I am on and to enjoy the travelling lifestyle. I will miss her and many others.
5. Cheap and (Mostly) Efficient Transport
The cost of living here is low compared to the UK. Cheap transport has been a blessing here. On the days I travelled to school by bus it was a mere 20p. You could travel for an hour in a taxi and it’ll be £10-£12. This is usually split between myself and Mitch which makes it even cheaper. The trains are also well priced and efficient for travelling the country.
6. Living a Different Lifestyle
I’ve never lived as an immigrant before. My travelling has never been long-term. I’ve never lived somewhere to really see what a country is like, and I’ve managed to do that here in China. It’s not always been easy, and the first two months were difficult adjusting. Once you get use to the differences though you can start to appreciate them, and can really get a feel and an understanding of the country. I’m very blessed and lucky to have lived in China and enjoy the lifestyle I have. Naturally, my lifestyle is different to the natives here, but I’ve gotten a peek into their lives.
Want more? Check out 6 things I will not miss in China.