I just moved in Sri Lanka after the holidays spent around the world. I changed my job, changed company and now I am starting a new experience with an other Chinese company, but here in Sri Lanka.
After my years spent in China, working with 700 Chinese people, being the only foreigner in the office and getting used to that particular life only after 8/9 months spent in Yuyao (the name of the city), I realised that I actually miss China, miss working with Chinese people, miss talking in Chinese, miss the food, I miss everything about it! It is so true when they say “China: you hate it or you love it”.
My story goes from hate to real LOVE.
My life there was not easy at all, as I wrote in some of my past posts, I was just one of the 10-12 foreigners in Yuyao (of different age), out of 2 million chinese people, living in an unknown part of Ningbo City, famous for the industrial part but not for the social life, especially not for the foreign social life, as nothing was there: no foreign restaurants, no real bars, just KTV and foot massages places. =)
I ended up in Yuyao as I got the chance to have an internship to teach english to Chinese kids, and it was supposed to be JUST for 4 months. After being worried like the typical italian person with small mind, thinking
“I hate China, I don’t like Chinese. Food is fried. I don’t speak a word. I didn’t even chose to study Chinese at the University because I will never ever go to China. No, I will not go!”,
My dad kind of pushed me to begin this experience, saying few words, in a very calm way, like this:
“Don’t worry. Try. You can come back anytime. Now, you go.”
“Now I go??? Oh god, OK! Fine…I will, dad! But If I come back soon don’t get mad!”
After not even 10 days I was sent to this unknown “small” city in China: Yuyao. A city where the sun never shows up and after 21 days with no sun my depression mood began.
I was crying everyday. The kids at the school were actually great, but I didnt understand a word of what they were saying, or sometimes asking me… what a shame! -.-
When traveling around the city or to other cities like Ningbo, Shanghai etc.. people did not understand me, even with the vocabulary on my hand (as there are lots of dialects, most of the old people on the street don’t even speak proper Chinese, so they couldn’t get what i was saying). I was losing myself day by day, wondering “What am I doing here?! Why did I say yes to my dad?!”
It was almost the end of the internship, and I was feeling good at that time. I started to speak some Chinese words and if they didnt understand me, whatever! I was going to be back home in about a month.
Well, i was supposed to… but suddenly, I got an offer for a real job (my first real one), based where? In Yuyao of course. The offer was actually thought to be in the US, at the company branch office after a probation period in Yuyao of about 3-4 months (that’s why I accepted) then I ended up staying in Yuyao for more than 2 years. My dream to go back to USA was kind of vanishing, as I faced so many challenges during that time and the first one was getting along with local people, their minds, and language.
I couldn’t leave China before reaching those goals.
It took some time, long time, but after that I was happy and satisfied of myself. I stayed 9 months not going out on weekdays at all, staying in my apartment with NO internet, hot like hell during the summer and cold like Antarctic during winter, watching chinese movies and study chinese with flashcards, like they use to teach children. The same.
The good thing at that time (which was not positive to me) was the fact that my chinese boss asked me to learn BASIC chinese, as it was fundamental for the job and to use the system in the computer.
“How am I supposed to learn Chinese if there are no schools that do this for foreigners in this city? And when am I supposed to do so if I work till 7pm and it takes me 45 mins to go back home?!”
I found it SO hard to learn, and it was just the basic level, but as said before, I did it. Somehow I managed to do it. =)
Today, January 15th 2015, after one year that I left China, I have been asked from my new Chinese boss in Sri Lanka to learn how to speak FLUENT Chinese, and learn the technical vocabulary to get the Chinese customers.
Why am I not choosing the easy way everytime?! “-.-
Because life is gonna be boring…
Welcome challenges, (again)!
“Challenges are what make life interesting. Overcoming them is what makes it meaningful” (Cit.)