I have been living and working in China for almost seven months now.
To say I missed the initial blogging boat would be an understatement. That ship must’ve sailed past a good half dozen times or so, and smacked me with its boom each time. However, living and working in China for this long has let me assess what information I want to people to know.
What I don’t want to write is another ‘backpack teacher’ type blog. There are already enough of those, and to be honest none of them helped me. Frequently I have said ‘I wish I had known that!’ and wondered why the vast Internet had not relinquished any answers. I feel the passing of said seven months, and experiences gained thus far, can back me up with what I will publish henceforth.
Now, let me describe the city I have lived in for these past months. Shijiazhuang is located South-west (or West-south as China would say) from Beijing, which is easily accessible by the new bullet train ‘G train’. It is a city of ~7-9 million people, double the population of my home, New Zealand. The rate of expansion is one of the fastest in China, as it is the city destined to protect Beijing should something happen (why did the chicken cross the road? To get out of North Korea’s missile range). This also means it is the most polluted city in China (read in the world). Underneath this layer of dust and soot do lie many delightful treasures that I promise to describe in depth very soon. Shijiazhuang has grown on me how fungi grows from that yoghurt carton you forgot was beside your bed and fell down the side. But without fungi there would be no penicillin, so it’s a good thing, I promise.
As this progresses expect topics such as –
The actual Visa process, and unnecessary love of stamps.
How to deal with not speaking a word of Chinese prior to arrival.
The places that feel surprisingly like home.
The places that remind you that yes, you are in China.
Q&A’s with foreigners who are not teachers.
Q&A’s with foreigners who are teachers (well, we are everywhere).
What I actually do in China and how you can do just the same.
Everything in between.