Especially to those living in China.

I feel very happy tonight and going to sleep very happy. I have learned so much about myself recently. Number 1. I am at my most happiest when I’m busy. Busy working towards my dreams. Busy working towards big goals. Busy working making money. Busy having things to do.

I like feeling productive and useful and enjoy being needed and having things to do while maintaining some kind of a balance with my personal life. Today I worked 14 hours and going to bed with contentment in my heart. It has been so difficult but every day is closer to establishing myself in this new country and new life as who you really are and finding out exactly what moves you and what your priorities are.

Who are you in this new environment ? What aspects of life can you take from both cultures to have a more happy life ? Who is this new version of you? It’s kind of exciting now that the answers slowly start coming.

I have also realised that the reason why I lacked confidence lately is exactly because of these reasons. You left your strengths behind in your home town and instead started learning everything a new. New language, new job, new friends, new work environment.

Instead of practicing your strengths, you are learning everything a new and confidence comes from knowing things and being good at things so no wonder our confidence can get a little shaky here, especially if you compare yourself with this new culture.

You are in a new environment where nobody knows who you are and you can’t communicate it across to people and that can be especially lonely and soul crushing. We all want people to see us for who we are and acknowledge us. That’s how we bond and we all want to bond with people and have those heart to heart connections that go beyond a civilised hello or drinks at a bar.

All of the things that made you you have been left behind and you are stripped to your bear bones and absolutely naked until you realise you need to pick yourself back up again.

I realised I lost my confidence temporarily because all of my strengths that made me me have been lost here and I so desperately wanted to be seen because I wanted companionship in this lonely silent world of not understanding the language or the culture sometimes.

Nobody got to know who I am or what I’m good at or what I care about. The world inside me that goes beyond that is a woman teaching. It’s kind of a silent suffering.

Nobody can truly see you until you learn to communicate well enough in the new language. Everything is new New New. Had to start everything from the beginning.

However, I was wrong. I hadn’t lost all my strengths and shouldn’t really care who can see them but instead should focus on doing the things that make me happy, fulfilled and have a purpose.

Just being the things you already are but with an added bonus. Then the rest becomes much easier.

Hope this can be a story of comfort for other expats who also struggle with finding out who they are in this new culture where they feel quite often people can’t see them.

Instead of looking outwardly perhaps we should look inwardly for our self fulfilment and satisfaction. For those like me who are living in China, we are not Chinese but we love living in China and we need to remember that. We will never be Chinese but we just need to figure out who we are amongst these two very different cultures.

If your goal and purpose are strong enough, you have the strongest possible protective factors to help you along this path that is very long and narrow.

Good night with all my gratitude. Wishing everyone happy travelling on the long but sort of short road called life. With all my gratitude, Jin Feng. Thanks from all my heart.

I am entering my sixth month of being away from home. These five months have been full with ups and downs, more than I can possibly count. There is a reocurring theme between me and fellow expats so I know my experiences are not unique but what to be expected when you start a new life away from everyone and everything you have ever known.

It’s been a roller coaster and the first few months were the hardest. In the beginning I was the same as a baby; relying on people around me for everything. Setting up a bank account, registering a phone number, ordering a taxi, ordering food, downloading apps I need and anything else you can think of that we take for granted living in a country where you are able to speak the language.

This is not a new experience for me. I moved to the UK when I was just a little girl. I didn’t know how to speak the language then either but somehow almost unnoticingly, I became fully proficient in English and the rest was smooth sailing. Having the same experience now as an adult makes me want to give myself a high five and a huge amount of kudos for going through that experience so seamlessly. I have no memories of struggling with my new life back then as I do now, apart from making friends.

Now I realise language is everything. My ability here to make friends is seriously hindered by my low level Chinese.

Moving abroad to live is not like travelling. You are on your own more often and everything slows down like a normal day to day life anywhere. All of a sudden you find yourself with no real friends and no one you can really call on. Of course, people will help you and if you are lucky like me, you could even have a few beautiful new blossoming friendships. But these take time to develop and while they do, you are pretty much on your own.

When starting a new life abroad, time is everything. You need time to find and develop new friendships, time to find your feet among all of the craziness, time to learn your new job, time to find out you really are in this new environment.

If you are like me, the hobbies you practice back home may not be things you can do in your new country. You will start to look for new things you can do that can give your life a new purpose and meaning or at the very least, find new things you can enjoy.

Most of all, you will feel overwhelmed a lot of the time. Overwhelmed with your new job and the new ways of doing things in a work environment that you are used to. Overwhelmed with being constantly surrounded by a language you barely understand and people who don’t understand you in all senses of the word. Most crucially, overwhelmed with a sense of loneliness that can hit you so deep that it will have you staring at the very abyss of your being and soul.

A new life abroad is a recipe for the deepest loneliness you have ever known and the only remedy for it is time, and patience. Time to build those new friendships, time to keep exploring until you find things you like to do and give your regular small doses of happiness, time to learn the language so you can communicate, time to get used to of the new ways of doing things, and patience to muddle through it and wait for the moment until things start getting easier:

This experience has made me realise how much we can take language for granted and overall the ability to communicate. It has made me realise that starting a new life is not for the faint hearted but as long as you have commitment to your dream or in my case, a desire for a better life, then anything is possible.

Although I didn’t have expectations of what my life would be like when I came here, at the same time I feel surprised at just how difficult it is to start a new life in a country abroad with a different language and culture to your own. At this stage I most miss a feeling of belonging and being understood. I miss having heart to heart conversations and being able to make my point quickly and easily.

I have also realised that our personality is so valuable and it is only communication that enables us to show who we are to the world. Simple things like making jokes or offering advice, explaining yourself or showing your best side and qualities, all language that seriously hinders the possibility of forming close friendships and not least of all, dating. But I’ll leave that for another post.

I know if I have commitment to China, I can certainly stick it out and things will get better with time. However; at the moment I have my doubts but that’s also for another post.

Until then,

Live your dreams and never stop to strive for better.

Jin Feng

7 years ago from today I was in China, training Shaolin kung fu in Henan province, the home of the Shaolin Temple. I remember the pain from the training, how I pushed my body to limits I never even thought were possible 8 hours a day for 6 days a week. 

Sitting down and getting up were the hardest things to do. My muscles ached and I needed to use all my power from my arms and upper body to help lift me off when I was sitting down. But I loved it. I loved the rude bell that would wake me up every morning at 5.20 am. A sound that would haunt me for years after I left.

I loved the heat of the weather and the barely there training Hall. I loved that I had to think about nothing at all, apart from get myself out of bed and focus on my training, as strenuous and challenging as it was.

I loved the sound of the crickets and the feeling of lying down on the not so cold sheets after a day training. I loved the barely existent village that could be barely called a village at all because it was made up of only nine blocks.

I even grew accustomed the cold showers after training because there was no hot water.

I fell in love with traditional Chinese culture, Buddhism and a shaolin monk.

That summer I proceeded to my next destination Hawaii, but didn’t spend there long before cancel my ongoing travel tickets to what was supposed to be one off trip of a lifetime before starting university. I returned to the kung fu school where there sound of the children’s voice chimed like sweets bells in my heart and I was surrounded by love and camaraderie through my kung fu brothers and sisters.
I called my mother that summer telling her I wasn’t coming back. “Come back and do your degree! China isn’t going anywhere,” anxiously and quite rightfully, she persuaded.
It was a reasonable argument so I followed her wise intervention and begrudgingly left what I felt was my own personal paradise and everything I loved about it, behind.
Having left behind beautiful Hawaii to return to China, I had learned that paradise is not where you are but how you feel where you are.

There is made myself a promise. One day I will return to live there.

Guess who’s back ;)

Well hello there old friend. I hope this message find you well.

It’s been 4 years since my last post on this blog according to WordPress. That’s quite a while, huh?! I’m sure a lot had happened in your lives, as well as mine.

But guess what, I’m back in China and planning on picking up my blog and writing from time to time again on my thoughts, experiences and adventures. Of course, and whatever other random bits I feel like throwing in.

I hope you stay locked in and hope to hear from you!

All my love,

Jin Feng 金凤

Hi Everyone!

It’s not fair to always write about China! This time I would like to share a piece of work I did for university which I quite like. While researching the paper I felt that I really learned so much and while I’m a tad bit worried that some lazy student might steal my work for their lazy student purposes, I’m actually more keen to get this out there for people to read up on and think about. Of course to share a bit of my passion and work with my readers. I hope you enjoy and I do look forward to your emails and comments, even though I’ve been rubbish at replying to you all ( student life, what can I say!)

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Hi friends!

This is an article I wrote for a friends magazine! She seems to like it so I thought I might share it here for you all to read even though it has nothing to do with China 🙂

Buller Pouring is famous in Bulgaria, in fact I don’t know if that is the correct name for it in English but it’s the closest translation I could come up with. So please let me know if you enjoy! Continue Reading »


Hi Everyone

Lately there was a big hoohaa over the internet about the girl who posted quite negative things about dating Chinese men just after one blind date with a Chinese guy, so my darling friend and favourite blogger Jocelyn over at Speaking of China urged all girls who have experience to share their stories too, to show other versions and experiences with the following in mind:

The more of us that publish thoughtful pieces that transcend the usual stereotypes and assumptions, the better for those readers searching for information on this topic.

So before we get into my person experience with dating a Chinese man, lets get some facts straight. First of all, I think many would agree that the media heavily influences the status quo. I mean  you just need to take a look at teenagers to see how they become clones of their favourite rappers, movie stars, singers etc to see how influential the media is on what is the social norm. With that in mind, have you noticed the negative images constantly and consistently been dished out at the expense of Asian guys?

Let’s look at the stereotypes.

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Hi Everyone

I suck. I know. Haven’t posted in who knows how long but without further a due, here is a list of things I learned about China from my one month work experience trip to Beijing in the winter of 2012. (This is just for jokes).

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I always thought the question is how to stop “feeling”. I judged emotions, being emotional. Turns out a better question may be “how I can start living?”. Filling your heart will love has no use in over- intellectualising every matter, because as many things with life, things just don’t make sense! (If anyone has found some sense to falling in love and other similar “accidents” please let me know!)  And so what? Should we sit there and ponder them forever, blame ourselves “Why am I thinking this? Why am I feeling this?” But how often do we think ” Who I am, How I feel and what I think is a utmost natural reaction to the circumstancces of my life”. Release that pressure!!!!

This is the beginning of my status on a social network I am part of, which resulted in perfect timing between my own observations and experience of life, met with the serendipitous stumble- across an internet friend’s photo which simply said “Emotion is the key” written on his own hand. This came at the exact right moment it was supposed to as it moved me to write this very article. I am a person who has always tried to avoid my emotions, being scared of them, disliked them, blamed them or even felt angry at them. I did not want them, I did not want to feel, the good or the bad, just make it numb! For a sensitive girl like me, life can be quite a roller coaster, but on the other hand, am I really that sensitive/emotional? If I talked in detail about the things that have happened to me over the last couple of years (my whole life even), people would be stunned! (Though may be nothing in comparison to others, the point here is that we don’t give ourselves enough credit that what we are going through is our natural response to life).  I would never have guessed that” is the answer most people can come up with when hearing some what of a shocking past. More frustratingly, people often tend to get misinterpret smiles and laughs and take that as a token that “everything is OK”. This exact same friend explained why he had penned this slogan, stating

“I wrote this because I am my sons soccer coach and all the strategy in the world doesn’t work. If you are excited they play well. If they do something well– tell them. If kids play til 10 years old, then teach them strategy. Otherwise cheer for them.”

This precise statement had a lot more meaning for me than my friend realised, which kicked started a conversation that was at least very interesting to me, as I was beginning to learn and capitalise on my learning, which led to me ironically pouring out my FEELINGS and not my THOUGHTS as I usually do, on my status.
If you are interested to see the continuation of this original post, born from this fun and exciting moment for me which helped me free myself from SO much self judgement and criticism, then please read on!

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Thinking about everyone and like always, busy busy busy!

I have been writing poetry since I was little, but I stopped for many years, only to re-establish my connection with creativity maybe around three years ago. While you wait for the next detailed post, I want to show you my latest poem.

Poetry always has an individual and unique meaning to each person- everybody can attach their own interpretation, feeling, mood and outcome. Why don’t you share your interpretation with us?

So without further ado…

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