Can you believe I’ve been living in China for one year already?
2016 was a really interesting year. Full of excitement and adventure, but on the flip side it was also very intense and emotionally draining. There are so many great things about living here, and this past year I’ve felt as though we are really living. Nothing like a big shake up and total life change to make things interesting!
So one year on, here are my thoughts on what I love about my new city Guangzhou, and what I miss about home in Melbourne.
- Food. Every type of noodle imaginable, amazing veggie dishes, dumplings, great seafood. So much to eat here.
- Exploring. There is never a dull moment and street life here is fascinating. When my brother visited a couple of months ago we spent an afternoon walking in the drizzling rain through the back alleys of the Jade and Chinese Medicine markets. It was one of my favourite days of last year.
- Delivery. Everything and anything can be delivered here. We don’t have a car, so delivery makes shopping much easier.
- Our apartment. We were very lucky to be appointed a great apartment with amazing views. It is bright and comfortable and has become a real oasis for me.
- Netflix. There are only so many episodes of Deadliest Catch I can watch before serious boredom sets in! (My husband will watch it endlessly though! Who knew grumpy crab fisherman would be so popular?)
- Kindle app for ipad and Borrow Box app which is connected to my library at home in Melbourne. Very limited english language book options here and reading is such a life blood for me.
- Travel. Everything is so far away when you live in Australia. Now that I live in the centre of SE Asia, there are a tonne of amazing destinations just a few hours flight away.
- My bike. I love riding around Guangzhou and it’s given me the freedom to zip around and run errands easily.
THINGS I MISS
- Family and friends of course. Nothing like the comfort of being with people who have known you forever.
- Food. I miss things like sausages, roast chicken, the Israeli cafe in Northcote that I used to eat lunch at on my work days, Mum’s cooking, my MILs cooking, my Nan’s cooking, shopping at Preston Market, Lebanese pizzas in Coburg, weekend BBQs.
- Understanding things. Being illiterate and unable to speak a language is HARD. Local people are so lovely and helpful and many, especially the younger generations, can speak very good english. Luckily there are some fabulous translation apps that I use a lot. In the past year I’ve picked up a fair bit of mandarin and can happily manage in shop / restaurant / taxi situations, but still, language unlocks so much opportunity.
- Driving. Just the freedom of being able to go places without much planning. We won’t drive here though, we have limited need. The public transport is excellent, taxis are plentiful and very cheap and we can hire a car when we need one.
- Work. In 2016 I felt a bit adrift without the routine of having a job. It was necessary though – I needed that time to learn things about shopping, food, where to get things, how to manage things, how things worked. I also needed the time to invest in new friendships and develop a social circle. The good news is that I’ll begin a new part time job in February. I’m better organised and I’m happier when I’m busy.
- Creativity. As you may have noticed, my sewing has seen a bit decline in productive output in 2016! This one is my first blog post since November. I felt very stressed about it for a while, but then realised that it was important to prioritise other things in what was such a year of upheaval for us. It’s the natural ebb and flow of life. Luckily sewing and this blog are always there, just waiting until I’m ready.
This year, at the end of every post, I’m going to tell you what else I’m up to.
Reading – My Year in France by Julia Child
Watching – Brooklyn Nine Nine series 3.
Cooking – Lasagne in big batches so I can make one for dinner and then at least one to freeze.
Sewing – a small cot sized quilt for a friend to take home to the UK as a gift for her friend who’s just had a baby boy.
So here’s to a more settled, creative and interesting 2017! Do you have any adventures planned for this year? Any creative goals? Tell me!