In times like these, we need to spread some love! 80+ residents saying I Love Guangzhou

This is where it all started, saying I love Guangzhou

In times of pandemic, it’s not only the virus that spreads, it’s also the fear. Fear can sometimes bring out the worst in us, hate. What can we do when people are afraid and when it comes out as hate towards the other?

We can spread more love!

I’ve been living in Guangzhou for 10 years, probably will stay here for the next 10 years as well. I feel this is my city, this is the place where I feel like home. So when fear and hate spreads faster than the virus, I feel responsible for doing something about it.

I decided to sprinkle some love!

And not just me, I got over 80 people living in Guangzhou to spread their love as well.

We all come from different nationalities, from different backgrounds, but what brings us together is our love for Guangzhou. Our love for a city that is loving, caring and accepting. A city where all of us can live and be happy.

We are real people and we have a message: love wins!

In the 10 years I’ve been living in Guangzhou the city has changed a lot, I have changed a lot, but what hasn’t changed is how much I care for the city.

My local husband, family and friends keeping me rooted in here, helping me to understand China and Guangzhou on a deeper level.

My international friends, students and fellow expats who boarden my horizon and who understand what it feels like to make your home away from home.

I know many people from all over China and all over the world who have all made their new home in Guangzhou. They came here for opportunities, jobs, love or pure coincidence, even fate. In the end all of us have found our place here, no matter if it’s temporary or permanent.

During the time we live in this City of the Rams, we all have one wish in common, we all want to live in a peaceful and safe place. And where does that come from?

It comes from all of us, we are the city.

We can’t change another person if they don’t want to change. There will always be a minority of people who send out negative thoughts, but what we can do is to be strong and keep our positivity.

With the days of endless ugly rumours, lets spread the message of acceptance even louder! If there is at least one person who will re-think their views, we have won.

If we continue to blame each other, there will only be losers.

So let’s be loud and clear: We love, we care!

To share a little personal story. My local sister-in-law sent a message in our family WeChat group: “Check out this news and be careful when being in touch with foreigners”. I felt my heart broke.

All my years in Guangzhou I’ve been trying to work as a bridge between the Chinese and foreigners. I moved here because I love the language and the culture. I’ve been married to my local husband for 6 years and our daughter is 4.

After all of this, she sent me this message. Not just a stranger on the street, but my family member. Telling me I should be careful when seeing my students and friends. That other should be careful when seeing me and my daughter.

I decided then, that I can’t stop when I feel hurt or sad, that is exactly the time to show everyone that we all can live together in Guangzhou. That we don’t need to be afraid of each other, instead we should learn to understand each other.

When gathering these photos from more than 80 people, I received so much love and caring words in return. These words are not just for me, they are for all of you!

I would love to participate!

Great on your efforts for the community!

Only through the light of love that we can eradicate the darkness of discrimination.

Thank you for being a bridge builder!

Let’s go through difficult times together!

Things I love about Guangzhou:

  • Little bit of something for everyone
  • Both modern city and lots of history
  • International circles in a very local city
  • Beautiful night time views
  • Being able to live in the country not far from the city center
  • Cuisine from all over China and all over the world
  • Full of opportunities
  • All of you lovely people!

Tips on staying positive:

  • List the things that are good in your life, no matter big or small
  • Try to understand, not to blame
  • Do the things you love with what you have and where you are
  • Sometimes escape with a good book or a good movie
  • Call up a friend or family member
  • Gather funny memes or stickers on WeChat
  • Watch cat videos
  • Remembet the reasons why you arrived to Guangzhou
  • Look back on old happy photos
  • Find your own personal ways of being happy
  • Even if you aren’t where you want to be, you can decide how you feel and how you act – be positive!

Article and text by Sara Jaaksola (presenting my own personal views)

Photos by Guangzhou residents