China was my next daunting but very exciting work adventure. After 6 months of tedious Visa paperwork, I was off to London to collect my passport from the Chinese Embassy to then fly to Wuxi.
Wuxi is a city in eastern China that sits next to Lake Thai which is the biggest freshwater lake in China. Connected to this lake is a canal that runs through the city and looks especially fantastic at night. The bridges, canal boats and lanterns all light up. Wuxi is very fortunate to have concrete city with gigantic malls and skyscrapers as well as the green parks and nature entwined.
Wuxi has an outstanding transport network with metros running every 3 minutes and bullet trains that can take you to Shanghai in as quickly as 40 minutes. You must be careful when crossing roads, the traffic won’t stop for you on zebra crossings. Also, electronic scooters are everywhere and silent.
Phone technology in China is outstanding. It is true that everywhere you look, people have their heads down looking at their phones. You never need to have physical money as you can pay for everything with your phone as well as send your phone contacts money. There is no need to cook at home as you can order food to your door so fast and cheap.. you can even unlock your front door with an app.
Chinese cuisine such as hotpot and Chinese BBQ is delicious. You can choose what you want to cook, but in hotpot there’s a twist. Even though you’re in a restaurant, you cook it yourself by boiling the food in a choice of two broths. You also need to learn how to use chopsticks fast!
Chinese people have a fantastic work ethic and are always wanting to do good and not disappoint. I feel like the expat community were my saviour as Chinese people in my experience didn’t always want to mix with foreigners, and if they did, it was hard to communicate. Even my Chinese work colleagues that treated me like family, never spent time with me outside of work.
My supposed 12 months in China was cut short by the Coronavirus. I didn’t manage to get to see the beautiful cherry blossom trees bloom that I had so looked forward to. From what I did see and experience though was something I have never before. Being a slight outcast gave me an alienated feeling which has made me really think twice about how I should treat others.
Wuxi is an extraordinary city fusing modern with ancient. Greenery and nature thrive through it, which is a rare find. It really does have it all, and I would recommend anyone to visit.
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