I’ve visited more than ten Chinese cities, but only lived in Guangzhou. It’s hard to compare different places when you haven’t lived in all of them, but I would still say that Guangzhou has a personality of its own. Compared to Beijing, where I stayed for two weeks two years ago, Guangzhou feels more laid-back, relaxed and unorganized. Guangzhou and Hong Kong share the Cantonese language, but besides that they are totally different worlds. Hong Kong is international city, but Guangzhou feels more local, more like home.
During these two years in Guangzhou I’ve started to call Guangzhou home. It’s the feeling that I have when I get back to Guangzhou from Hong Kong for example. Even though this city is huge and there are numerous districts I haven’t visited, but I still feel like I know this place. This is my place, my Guangzhou.
Besides Mandarin I’m also studying Cantonese. Even though my progress is painstakingly low, but I hope that in the future I would be able to have at least simple conversations with the locals in their own language. That would get my roots deeper into the soil of this city. But by settling down in Guangzhou I make it harder for my self to leave. What is I have to move to Beijing or Shanghai to work when I graduate? What if I have to go back to Finland?
Living in China might sound exotic, but it’s full of ordinary daily tasks like washing the dishes and doing homework. Only once in a while I wake up and remember that I’m actually living in China, I actually did accomplish my dream. That dream have just changed into daily life with it’s own annoyances.
Right now when thinking about all of this, going over the last two years, it feels weird to say out loud that my life is in Guangzhou now. It’s so normal and extraordinary at the same time. There are lot of things I don’t get in China and it can be frustrating at times, but when I look at my boyfriend and my cat Lucy, I know, that there’s no place I would rather be.
Have you found your new home abroad? How does it feel like?