It’s been 8 months (already!) since I moved to China. Time flies when you’re having fun they say! I’ll definitely won’t disagree with this one.
Even though Dongguan is a “small” city of 8 millions, it feels way too often like a small town. Dongcheng, the neighborhood where I live, is also the home of almost every other expat in the city. It’s now a normal thing for me to walk into a pub on a Friday night and know half of the people. Who knew living in China could feel like Hearst, my small hometown in northern Ontario?! 😆
Western restaurants, bars and shops are also found at every corner in Dongcheng. Believe it or not, I did find myself drinking Moosehead and eating poutine! Ok, it wasn’t real squeaky St-Albert cheese curds, but still! It’s almost impossible to feel homesick when you can find (almost) everything you want at your doorstep! And if you can’t, it’s definitely on Taobao (one of the world’s largest shopping websites).
Apart from teaching and drinking, I do still take the time to stay fit! 😝 I’m very grateful to have the Qifeng Park 5 minutes away from my apartment. It quickly became my running paradise where I can easily escape in the nature, away from the city buzz. I also cycle to work every single day, rain or shine (or flood!) averaging around 100km a week. Ok, it’s not Ironman training, but I’m enjoying my daily commute and my traffic riding skills are quite the shit by now! 👊🏻 Finally, last October, one of my colleague hooked me up with the Dongguan Bulldogs rugby team. Perfect occasion to try something new and meet people. Since then, well, I’ve learned how to catch, throw, tackle, score tries, and drink from the left hand! (Google: Buffalo Club)
And lastly, how’s my Chinese? Well, it’s slowly, slowly getting there. Wǒ huì shuō yīdiǎn zhōngwén (I can speak a little Chinese). I’ve learned over 70 characters by now (thanks to http://www.yoyochinese.com!). I can also order píjiǔ (beer), jiǎozi (dumplings) and jīròu chǎofàn (chicken fried rice) at a restaurant and I can get home safely in a taxi after a late night out…. what else do you need? 😛
My life in Dongguan has been good to me so far. Of course I had my ups and downs, including a few trips at the hospital, but I’m still happy with my decision of renewing my contract at ISD for a second year. Oh, and I also met this cute French guy, another good reason to stay! 😊