Welcome everyone to my new blog, just another small scrap of the internet, but one that is already bursting with possibilities, and crowding my mind with ideas for future projects.
I should start by introducing myself. My name is Bryan, I’m 25 years old, I’ve been living in Guangdong, China for almost a year and a half now. Since I arrived here I have been astounded and culture shocked and generally incapable of sitting still long enough to distil my thoughts into something cognisant, but I feel that I’m finally at the stage where I feel comfortable writing about my experiences, and experienced enough that my thoughts are substantial enough to warrant reading.
In China I work as a kindergarten teacher, but back home, in Ireland, I was a journalist. The journalism game was not quite prepared for me as I graduated university, so I decided, in desperate need of cash and direction, that I would up sticks and take off on some amazing adventure to the opposite side of the world.
When I started applying abroad I had no special interest in China. I knew a little bit about the country’s history but I can’t say that I was specifically seeking a job here. The opportunity fell into me lap.
China is well known for being a hotspot for foreign teachers. Compared to some countries, like Japan and Dubai, it is relatively easy for foreigners to find a well-paid, and well-protected job. All you need is a bachelor’s degree, a 120 hour TEFL course and an adventurous spirit.
When I first arrived in China, I thought that I would stay a year, and then head home, or possibly continue on my travels elsewhere. I came with an open heart and mind, and I tried, and do try, my best to accept every opportunity the experience offers me.
Here is what they don’t tell you about China:
The lifestyle is a breeze – compared to recently graduated natives, foreigners can earn a lot of money and live like royalty
China, particularly the province of my residence, Guangdong, borders some amazing countries, like Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia and more, so if travelling is what you are keen to do, rather pick China than somewhere more isolated, like South Korea,
and finally there is nothing quite like the genuine adoration that a foreigner can feel walking down the street, or within any workplace in China. Sure you get some stares, and you can hear the odd “Wai Guo Ren” being whispered by people young and old enough to know better, but when you weigh up the advantages against some insignificant disadvantages, the move is more than worth it.
Again, I planned to stay for only a year, but I was entranced by country and the opportunities, so I stayed, and will stay, for longer.
The challenge of integrating into any foreign society is a big one. You have to consider cultural differences, which sounds easy to deal with in the short term, but which grow tiring over the course of years. You also have to consider the language, the politics, the food, the people, the pollution, healthcare services, your stance as a foreigner within that society and more.
All these things can make the committed mind aver, and I have certainly experienced my fair share of ups and downs, so much so that I can almost set my watch by my varying attitudes to my adopted country.
In the nature of acclimatising myself further, I have decided to start this blog, which will act as a summation of my life in China.
I see this blog as a few different things,
Firstly it may act as a diary, both personal and impersonal, a record for my interactions and social encounters, as well as a record for my thoughts, on things ranging from the politics of China to the cultural differences that astound and destroy my soul on a daily basis.
Secondly I view this blog as an opportunity for learning. In the course of any piece of writing I am beset by the urge to recall figures or ideas or quotes that can help give credence to what I am saying. That is the journalist in me.
As far as the content that I will post on this blog, I will say that it will indeed be China oriented, but please don’t ask me for any more than that, because I really don’t know.
What an exciting world we live in, to bracket my choices now, already, would be to spoil the spontaneity that I have come to love here on my Chinese adventure.