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Movie lover. Growing Capoeirista. Space enthusiast. Dedicated craftsman. And best of all, homegrown Los Angeles native. Wait, how in the hell did I end up in China!?
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Look, I’m from America. When I think basketball, I think … NBA. I think WNBA, NCAA, AND1 Streetball Tournaments, Harlem Globetrotters, NBA All-Star Weekend. I think 21, Horse, 3-point shootouts. I think Michael Jordan, Kobe—may he rest in peace—Lebron, Shaq. I think Space Jam, Coach Carter, Love and Basketball, He Got Game.
I remember it like it was yesterday—It was my 1st year in China and I was speaking to my Chinese colleague about the education system in the country.
I’ve been nearly 4 months removed from my awesome 7½ year experience teaching English abroad in China, but even now, I still find myself reminiscing on the incredible journey I’ve had living and working overseas.
Moving back home to the USA after living abroad in China for 7 years feels ... strange, to say the least. Don’t get me wrong—there are things I absolutely love about being back in the States, but at the same time, less than a week in, there are millions of things I’ve already missed from China.
It’s finally here—you’re leaving China and ain’t coming back. Maybe it’s a new job opportunity. Maybe it’s an emergency or you’re getting married. Or maybe, just maybe, you’ve lived in the country that long and it’s just time to pack your bags and get the hell out before you’re stuck in a void that you feel you can’t escape.
“Don, what’s the process like teaching English abroad in China? From finding jobs, getting visas, and working at schools, to getting an apartment, traveling ... everything!?”
It’s been a wild 7+ years teaching English abroad in China—I know, I can’t believe it either. I’ve had ups and downs, highs and lows, experienced the good with the bad, and … yada, yada, yada. Who cares? Look, in the span of those years I’ve come to notice two genuinely important things: One, I don’t know who was/is a cooler president, Barack Obama or Xi Jingping? What do you think? Ah, that’s a tough one. Damnit!
I’ve taken so many local bus tours across China that I’ve lost count. Honestly, as an expat, they’re just one of the best ways to travel and see all the beautiful sights China has to offer, from bustling cityscapes riddled with towering skyscrapers to the most incredible, jaw-dropping natural escapes you just might ever lay eyes on.
It's 7:30pm—after hours at the hospital. The Emergency Care is up and running, and there must be hundreds of people moving back and forth between the hallways and corridors.
You're in China, there's a holiday fast approaching, and you have zero clue as to where to spend your next vacation. Shanghai or Beijing? Nope, you've either been before or feel very keen on exploring some offbeat tourist hub you've probably never even heard of. Here's my list of 30+ top things to do and places to visit in China that aren't Shanghai or Beijing.
Curious as to how young ESL students celebrate Halloween in China? Although Halloween isn't widely celebrated in China, it is a popular Western holiday observed by most international schools and English training centers across the country. Here's a breakdown of what you can expect on Halloween as an ESL Teacher in China:
I just might be the luckiest expat in China. After all, over the past 7 years I’ve had the most incredible experiences that I never could have imagined before stepping foot in the country. And truth be told, many of them—scratch that, the majority of them, have actually been ‘first’.
Ah, Chinese lantern festivals. Sure, you've seen snippets of them in movies, brochures, websites, and may have even visited one or two in your hometown, but have you actually caught one in China? Trust me, they're a million times more of a spectacle on the Mainland than anywhere in the world. Here's what you need to know and can expect at Chinese lantern festivals:
There's just something about China and statues that just goes hand in hand. They're everywhere--from small, 10-meter tall molds of prominent Chinese nationals in busy downtown areas to larger-than-life sculptures of religious deities perched on rural mountainsides and tourist beaches. They're eye-catching, they're symbolic, and as I've come to discover, worth every penny of the adventure you'll take just to see them. Here are the 10+ coolest statues in China you need to see ASAP:
"So, what's some hot trends, cool technology, and awesome products coming out of China?" Heck, it's like clockwork. As an expat in China for 6 years and counting, it's just one of those questions I've come to expect whenever I speak with people from back home.
The people of Wenshan are so nice! Well, at least at the airport. It was 7:30pm. I had just landed in Wenshan via an hour-long flight from Kunming Changshui Airport.
It was peaceful for a while. Not zen-like, but the type of quiet you feel grateful for, especially when your heart is racing cause you’re in a rush to get somewhere.
So, you're living in China and have got some friends, family, or a boyfriend/girlfriend coming to visit. You know all the hot tourist hot spots, restaurants, bars, and clubs to hit, but what about actually showing off something, you know, cultural? After all, 'this is China'—a country brimming with more than 5,000 years of history and traditions. Here's my list of 15+ best cultural experiences and activities in China to show off to your family and friends when they come visit.
You ever been to a wedding in China? They sure are a cultural spectacle, especially to an expat living and working in the country. I’ve been fortunate to have attended 6 weddings over the years that have included marriage between Chinese locals and Chinese with foreigners. I haven't experienced all types of weddings in the country, but here’s a good look at what you can expect:
Dear China, for once could you please hold the ‘Méiyŏu?’ It seems just about every week that I, an American expat teaching English in China for the past 6 years, stumble upon what seems like one of the country's cruelest ongoing jokes: ‘Méiyŏu-gate'.
A guy once tried to stab me in China—Shanghai, to be specific. No kidding, he pulled out a pocketknife and made multiple swings towards my head. And in all honestly, it was partly my fault.
Have you seen DC Comic's Justice League movie yet? Well I have, and best of all, I saw it in China, my home of the past 6 years. Here's a look at what it's like to catch Justice League in China!
Ah, Chinese food--you just got a love it! It's tasty, it's colorful, it's healthy, it's jam-packed with a variety of aromas, and it heavily incorporates influences of China's longstanding history, culture, and traditions.
After nearly 6 years of living in China, I can't believe that I've just finally gotten around to spending at least thirty minutes to an hour each day exercising. Well, sort of.
So, you’re considering teaching English abroad. You’ve thought about moving to popular regions in South Asia like South Korea, Thailand and Japan, but you’re not sure about which is the best place for you. And low and behold, you’ve skipped over one of the most exciting major players in the region: What about becoming an ESL teacher in China?