I asked a few of my friends who have been here for a year or more teaching English in China, why they are still here? How are they finding fulfillment? Let's have a look at what they had to say.
Tom from Sheffield, UK said that he is finding fulfillment by exploring the city, playing football and socializing. He went on to say that everybody is in the same position that we're all trying to enjoy our tenure here and therefore most people are friendly. His tip is “try not to stress as there are always people to help”.
Wilma from Randfontein, South Africa said that she feels safe to walk around whenever, no matter what time of day or night. She also added that Western restaurants make this city worth it.
Kelsey from Florida, USA said that she can literally get anything that she wants. She concluded by saying, “freedom [is the best part about living abroad], I've never lived this independently before”.
My roommate, Unathi, broke down the key to finding fulfillment into four aspects. She mentioned spiritual, work, health and social life.
For me it was important to find a group of like-minded people whom I could have community with and share what we believe in, pray together and just be a source of life for each other. Don't know where I'd be if it wasn't for my Community Group. One of my friends Lydia is into meditation, yoga, journaling and gratitude. There is absolutely everything for everyone.
Be friendly. Do your very best and be the best you can be. After all, you do spend the majority of your time at work. Just the other day we took a vote about what we wanted for our next team building activity. It's currently a tie between:
The Big E Entertainment Center (laser tag, airsoft guns, archery, KTV, and a local bar).
An Escape Room (Solve the clues to solve the mystery and escape from the locked room).
We are sorted for the next two months. Can't wait.
Health is wealth. Take care of your health. My roommate's advice is that you shouldn't just try stuff you don't know without checking it out and finding out what it is. She continues to say that of course yes it is good to explore. Be careful not to over indulge. When you feel like have done so, take a step back and go on a little detox.
It's critical to have a good group of people that you can talk to and seek advice from as an expat. Good community. Also local friends make the experience much richer and authentic. They are very helpful. One of my friends lost their keys. Who was the first person she called for help? A local friend. Very handy.
When all is said and done I would say find what floats your boat and run hard after it.
A few of my favorite things include:
Meet ups with friends over anything from coffee to a sleepover.
Exploring plant based food options, I am part of a WeChat (China's equivalent of Facebook) group that focuses mainly on sharing vegan recipes and advice with stuff like plant based options for substituting eggs when baking.
My Community group.
Travelling, just came back from the most amazing trip to Thailand, which I will write about in detail in another blog.
Just the other day a friend of mine organized a brunch potluck or what we call a ‘bring and share' where I come from. The lineup for the day included us literally standing and then sitting around a buffet filled table and just having a good old natter about anything and everything. We had vegan quiches and brownies that I made, bruschetta and marinated tomatoes and mushrooms another friend prepared. Did I mention the sparkling wine and Red Wine Sangrias that we enjoyed, as we played a game of Piccolos and then rounds of Cards against humanity which of course I conquered even though it was my first time?