Archive for the ‘China’ Category

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.

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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

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