My natural hair journey began in 2016. I’ve been on the natural hair bandwagon for a couple of months now. New to the club, I’m learning all types of things, like crochet, sisterlocks, fake dreads, I love…
Chinese food hasn’t exactly been good to my stomach. So, I bet you’ll all be surprised when I tell you I’m trying Chinese street food? Now that my stomach has settled a bit, I am taking a…
When I decided to trade in my chemically-treated-hair for my real hair, many people liked the new change. So do I! I think I look younger, fresher, and sexy. That’s a word I never would’ve used to…
I’ve been chemically treating my hair since the age of twelve. As a graduation present from Mom and Dad, I relaxed my hair at the age of twelve. On my way to Secondary Modern School, I really wanted…
Oh, if you look at the picture, you’ll see what I mean when I wrote in my last blog that I’m tall here. I look angry, but I’m not. I’m just concentrating on my friend, she speaks fast, LOL.
Photoshoots are part of every day life here in China, especially if you’re a foreigner. People take your picture without asking, but Chinese pose for pictures all the day the whole day. I bet they take more selfies than Kim K. Being a Black woman in China has its ups and downs. The downside is that some Chinese prefer pale skin over dark skin. Most Chinese want to learn English, so they prefer to hire foreigners instead of Chinese. They have more faith in a foreigner’s ability to teach them the correct English pronunciation.
You won’t believe how many “Teaching Jobs in China” ads I’ve read on What’s On Xiamen (WOX) with people requesting their teachers have a “European appearance.” In China, that is PC for, “white with blonde hair and blue or green eyes.”
I have been the victim of many photoshoots in China. Here’s a summary of my first three months in China: “Click! Click! Shutter! Shutter!” I posed for pictures, if asked. Sometimes they followed me around, filming me without my permission. It bothered me to the core, but now I’ve learned how to deal with it.
My friend Felix and I went to my favorite coffee shop to study. It was two to three weeks before our 期末考试 (final exams). I was bored of studying at the college library, I needed a change of scenery.
I was at the coffee shop for more than an hour, when two young women walked in. One of them carried a camera. The photographer sat in front me, all my senses were on alert. I wasn’t in the mood to model or for my picture to be taken without my permission. But, we made eye-contact a couple of times, and she had really kind eyes. I couldn’t help but smile at her. We exchanged a few words, then I gave her my permission to take my pictures, as long as she sent them to me. The pictures in this post were taken after I had agreed to it. I wasn’t even aware when she took them, she’s so good!
It was one of the best photoshoots I’ve ever had here in China!
I didn’t think she’d keep her word, but she did. Unfortunately, I don’t remember her name. I saved her as “Photographer Girl,” LOL! She and I have become friends. When we talk to each other on WeChat, I call her 美女 (pretty woman), which is the proper way to address a young woman whose name you don’t know. It’s also flattering, because she thinks I think she’s pretty. She is pretty, so the “name” fits. We’ll have another photoshoot soon! I will need to learn her real name, can’t call her “Photographer Girl” to her face.
The writers among us know how difficult it can be to stick to a writing schedule. I, too, am guilty of this. The only writing schedule I successfully stick to, is my Chinese Journal schedule. That’s where I write about my experiences in China… in Chinese. In order to improve my Chinese, I wrote about my day, my emotions, what-have-you, in a notebook that I handed to my Grammar teacher almost every day. At the end of the first year, we had to write an essay about something we experienced here in China.
Writing about my experiences is second nature to me, I had a lot of stories to choose from. My teacher helped me pick out the funniest ones. We narrowed it down to five. I was the only first-year student to ever do such a thing. They were so impressed, they extended my scholarship for another year.
Behold Exhibit A, a video I too of the finished product. Excuse the manicure, my favorite salon had closed down at that time. Finding a new one wasn’t easy.
This is my second year here, but I still need to start writing about my experiences. The first months back were a little hectic. The disappointed look on my teacher’s face when I told her I hadn’t written anything yet, that hurt. I still have two and half weeks off, so better put them to good use. She really thinks my stories have the potential to become a great memoir written in the Chinese language… by a 外国人 (foreigner).
Once again, I made a writing schedule. This time around, it’s easier to met my deadlines.
Writing my novels (yes, PLURAL) is easier now. The previous years I was freaked out about many things. Like what? I didn’t graduate from some prestigious college with a degree in English Literature, I had no idea what pantsing and outlining meant until I bought the book Outlining Your Novel: Map Your Way to Success. There were so many things I didn’t know, and that scared the bejesus out of me. I have to admit, fear of my novel being rejected or criticized by people scared me. We writers are very sensitive when it comes to our work, it’s our baby. But, in order to really call myself a writer, I need to write.
I now have a new writing schedule, am writing about my experiences here & adding the finishing touches to my first romance novel.
This year is the same as 2015 in many ways. How so? 2015 was the year I stopped saying, “I’m going to move to China…” People were tired of hearing it, some even scoffed and rolled their eyes. When 2015 started, I said to myself I needed to stop saying to myself, “This will be the year that I …” And I did it. It became the year I moved across the world. 2017, year of the Cock (no pun intended) is looking mighty bright to me.
Writers, please feel free to share similar struggles, or any struggle related to writing.
Writing has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. I have been doing it for more than thirteen years now. It all started with my obsession with Ginuwine. I think I was fifteen or…
The first time the government told me I would be coming to China, I was a bit disappointed that I wouldn’t be living in Beijing. The school of my choice was the Beijing Language and Culture University. Since this scholarship is for government employees and only for Xiamen, I had to come here. I must be honest and say that I was totally bummed out when I realized Jimei (集美) would be my home for the next coming years. What was so great about Jimei?
For starters, Xiamen (厦门), the center of everything that is fun, is about an hour away by bus, but half an hour by cab. I really hate taking the bus in China. Why? If the capacity is seventy people, they cram twice that amount on the bus. Bus rides are super uncomfortable. You have to be mentally prepared to be shoved around and even hear someone spit inside the bus. I kid you not.
Last year I only took cabs, but sadly, my boyfriend has tightened the purse strings this year. Besides, I think it’s time to change things up a little this time around. Never one to travel by public transportation, I thought maybe it was time to do something different. The time has come for me to step out of my comfort zone a little more
Oh, FYI, I didn’t take public transportation anywhere unless it was rented. Not because I am related to Ari Onassis, but because my Daddy is so FANTASTIC, he drove me EVERY SINGLE PLACE!
At first I hated Jimei, but now I have come to adore this little place.
Since Jimei is so small, everyone kind of knows everyone. Well, if you live in Jimei, that is. The owners of the restaurants I frequent, all know my name. So do people who work in salons, bakeries, book stores… I pretty much introduced myself to every single person, everywhere I went. It was the fastest way for me to learn the language and get to know some new people. Sometimes when I’m buying something or standing in line somewhere, I can hear someone yell, “Hey, Phoenix! How are you! Long time no see!” I love this place now!
New year’s resolutions… I make them every year, but unfortunately, I don’t end up keeping all of them. The most important new year’s resolution for 2017, is taking the HSK (汉语水平考试) level 5 exam. In order to…
Adjusting to life in China hasn’t been easy. It is the first time in my life that I am really aware of my race, like you have no idea. I know I am a Black woman, but…