My Life

Will I Be A White Guangzhounese?

It feels so odd. To tell people that I live in China, that my hometown is now Guangzhou. It feels like I am joking and it really isn’t true. I used to dream many years about visiting China but I didn’t knew that I would live there for many years or even longer.

The red door in the picture leads to the staircase and the uglier one is the door to my place. There  are numberless different views to China but mine is to a common neighbourhood and I only have a glimpse of a skyscraper in the horizon.

No matter how long I will stay I will always be a foreigner and an outsider. Later on I will find out if that is a feeling I can bear long term. Right now I am just curious to get into my Chinese lifestyle in my totally Chinese apartment. When I get back to Guangzhou I still have to find out where to wash my laundry and is my squat toilet able to flush paper (My guess is no).

This is a big step from safe life in the dorm to a village where I am probably the only foreigner there. The first five months seemed to be just a trial period and now I put myself into a real test. Can I handle my dream? Is it possible to become a white Guangzhounese? At least I can start by writing Guangzhou in the hometown box.


  • Sara

    Thank you for commenting Sam! I have to say that I don’t know any Cantonese. I just learn putonghua (Mandarin) and I don’t have time to learn Cantonese, it sounds so difficult :) But later I might learn some Yangjianghua (阳江话), because my boyfriend is from there.

  • SAM

    I hardly heard people speak Chinese when i was in Canton, most of them are speaking cantonese…since i am from HK which is great to me… but for the people coming to china in oder to learn Mandarian…. Maybe Beijing is a better place….

    Will Reply:

    ahh, just to be correct and a pain in your neck: Cantonese IS Chinese since it WAS invented in China, BY Chinese people and FOR Chinese people… in fact, Cantonese is closer to the classically-sounding Chinese than Mandarin, and it’s thought to be closer to what people spoke during the Tang dynasty, one of the most important dynasties in Chinese history… I don’t know if it’s related, but the words most used to refer “Chinese” by Cantonese people are actually (in Cantonese spelling) “Tong Yen”, which means “Tang people”, and I’d know since I’m “Cantonse”!
    Wanna hear an interesting story (it’s probably fake) but when the modern Republic of China was founded in -surprise!- Guangzhou (or as you call it, Canton), the founding fathers, including one Sun Yat Sen, argued about which dialect to use as the official language of China, and Cantonese lost for a few votes to you-know-which-one.

  • Sara

    Sam, Luckily people here can also speak Mandarin. Sure their accent is different, but it’s good to get used to differen kind of accents. Yes, maybe Beijing is the best place to study Chinese. But if you only stay in Beijing you get used to the most standard speaking and when you go to other provinces you will have difficulties with their accents.

    I’m pretty sure that after few years living in Guangzhou I will have a southern Putonghua accent!

  • SAM

    hahaha… i hope you dont have the cantonese accent that i have when i speak Mandarin.. since people her in Beijing most of time can’t understand what i am saying…LOL.. Are you planning to stay in Guangzhau for long?

  • Sara

    Sam, Of course I will major in Chinese language. After that I’ll see if I’m too old to do a Master’s degree too. It would be very interesting to study ancient Chinese history.

  • SAM

    Too Old….LOL.. Well… I am now 28 year old, and just graduated from My master degree.. and now writing research proposal in order to apply my Phd……. never too old to study..LOL

  • Sara

    Sam, It would be wonderful to study my whole life time, but some things need money aswell and that means a job! And I would love to work as a journalist for example.

    And some life plans have a expiration date.

  • sam

    well… yup.. we need money to survive… that’s why i am working now… and preparing my research proposal at the same time.. So tired…
    I like working and making money.. but it is just diffcult to find a job that you like…
    I dont like my job, but at least it keeps me survive…

    That’s life…

  • Sara

    Sam, It sure is difficult to find a good job. I wish to find a job I enjoy doing because you spend so many hours per day working, I think you should enjoy it too if possible. But sure life usually isn’t that easy.