I’ve been living in Xiamen almost 4 years now so I thought that it is about time to write a post on my ‘home’ away from home. For those who don’t know where Xiamen is; It’s a small island between Shanghai and Hong Kong, in front of Taiwan. For Chinese standards Xiamen is quite a special place… It’s less crowded than some other cities, except near the tourist areas, it’s cleaner; less pollution, less junk thrown around everywhere and a lot of outdoors activities are going on here. We also have the beach (although as you will see in this post it’s nothing like the pristine beach in South-East Asia), we have palm trees, botanical gardens a very summery climate and lots of great people.
Living in China is quite a special experience… Anything that we are used to back home is probably the exact opposite over here. It takes a certain type of person to ‘survive’ as an expat in a Chinese city that is not like Shanghai or Beijing. Chinese people are very different from us, like even general manners and the culture is such a complicated one that as a foreigner you can only understand the very top layer of it, you’re very closed off from the outside world in terms of media, internet, even food etc. So why do I live here already for 4 years?
To be honest I’m not sure if I could live in another city in China than Xiamen. I love the weather here, although Summer gets way too hot, but we have the sun for most days of the year, it’s quite a beautiful city, it’s peaceful. But why China? I am deeply fascinated with this culture, its complexity, its history. The way it is mixed/confronted with modern-day living. People don’t take themselves too seriously, there is plenty of room for error (perhaps sometimes too much) and they are very friendly. Maybe this isn’t very obvious if you don’t speak Chinese because there will be a very large language barrier. But how many other countries are there where for example when you are walking in the rain someone will offer their umbrella or will walk you folding their umbrella all the way to your destination?