How's China?

A few months ago my dear friend, April, from 10,000 Smiles interviewed me on living in China to feature in her blog. I thought I'd share with you my answers. :) Happy Wednesday! 

-Why did you move to China?

 We moved to China because we love living overseas, love new cultures and love Jesus. We felt Jesus call us to China, to serve and love Chinese people. 

- Do you feel safe living in China? Why?
I feel fairly safe living in China. In general, the crime rate is much lower than the States. I have found that most people are friendly and eager to talk to you. The Chinese are warm people and are interested in the life of a foreigner. The only times where I have felt uncomfortable, not necessarily unsafe, but uncomfortable, is when people are sneaking I Phone pictures of me or staring at me, and not smiling back when I smile at them. These situations are probably out of how interesting and unknown I seem to them, though. 

-What steps did you take to becoming an English teacher in China?
Zachary, my husband and I, both graduated from University with a bachelor's degree, which is one of the first steps to becoming a teacher abroad. Most places and schools require that you have a bachelor's degree. To enhance our resume and our skill, we both completed a 120 hour TEFL certification. The number one requirement to being an English teacher abroad, is that you speak English! If you speak English you will most likely score a job in an Asian country! 

-Can you describe a typical day for you in China?
 Our work week looks a lot like the American work week. We work 8am to 4 pm or 5 pm. The difference between our day and the American work day is that we are surrounded by Chinese speakers, have to use squaty toilets at school, are served Chinese food, including pig organs at lunch, and have to taxi or bus our way home from work. :) We really enjoy these differences though! 

-Specifically what do you like and dislike about living in China?
We like the humbleness of the Chinese culture. We have found humble hearts among our Chinese friends that we really love. We also enjoy, though sometimes frustrating, the slowness of the culture. It is much more relaxed and operates at a more peaceful pace than several cultures. We dislike the corruption in the culture. The Chinese business, work and money culture runs deep with strings attached, pressure and expectations. This is very hard for a foreigner to understand or bear. This corruption has encouraged us all the more to be people of peace and light in the hard places and relationships we encounter, though. Tons of people find it hard to live in China because of the dirtiness, trash and the closeness/pushiness of the people. We have found this to be humbling. Of course these things are uncomfortable and difficult at times, but they remind us that we are but man. It's easy to forget that in the States where you don't often have to encounter your trash, dirt, or even your neighbor. But here, it's in your face and reminds you that even Jesus has dirt on His feet. 

-What comforts do you crave living in China?
We crave Mexican food! Chips and salsa! A bath tub in our house! A car! Family dinners. :) 

-How do you keep your relationships strong back in the States?
 I am terrible at keeping up with relationships back home but have worked hard to keep our life here updated on our blog. Having an I Phone has also helped tons! From my Iphone I can keep up with friends via email, skype, Instagram, twitter and text free on the go! 

-Why should an expat move to China?
An expat should move to China if they want to experience culture. It's difficult to come to China and stay in a bubble. The cultural differences are around you all the time. It's completely different than life in the West and is great for growing, shaping and changing your world view! Come to China if you enjoy vacations! With our job we get two months off in the summer and a month in the Winter! It's the perfect time to travel! 
This has nothing to do with the post. It's just a random cute little corn and carrot duck Zachary made that I thought I'd share with you. :) 


Catherine said...

That duck looks corny!!! hehehehehe!

I already read this on April's blog, but nice to read again :) xo

Sybil@PeaceitallTogether said...

I think you guys are so brave for taking on the challenge of living in another culture! Not sure t.hat it's something I could do

Sally Kessler said...

Thank you so much for sharing your comments! I think of you guys a lot! I am in a teaching program right now in Iowa, and there is a student who is Zach's Doppelganger. Also, if I ever go out for a run, I think of how you guys got me started. The arts in China or new, cool, English speaking news sites in China are always talked about on NPR, and that makes me think of you, too. I always hope you are well and think of you often!

Beka said...

I loved reading about your perspective and experiences in China!

April Robert said...

Awesome post!

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