Chilling in China

I'm living in China for 6 months. This is my story.

Anonymous asked: I love your blog, it's been so inspirational and I'm sad to see it end! Thank you so much! I can imagine reading this in a book in the future, I think a lot of people would love it. Thanks again, good luck with everything!

Thank you, whoever you are. That means a lot to me :)


185 - The End

185 days - 185 posts

My time in China is over, and so is this Blog.

It’s been a blistering roller-coaster of emotions, and I haven’t even told you everything. As honest as I’ve been, there is only so much I can write about and maintain my dignity. Some of those stories will have to wait until we meet face to face.

I want to thank every single one of you for reading. I didn’t realise until now how enjoyable writing really is, and knowing it’s given some of you out there some joy makes the entire operation a thousand times more rewarding. Thank you.

Thank you to all the people who commented, sent me letters, skyped me, sent me care packages. You are the crispy sweetness of my michelin star pork bun. There may be another blog in the future, if I ever do anything worthwhile with my life, if there is I’ll make sure you know about it!

I could go on and break down all my experiences for you (teaching, travelling etc) but my friend Dave did a marvellous job of that in a post I linked you to earlier. Let’s just summarise it quickly by saying it has been the most revolutionary, eye opening and incredible 6 months of my life.

If I ever read this again in the future, I want to ask myself: Are you still writing? Are you eating well and exercising regularly? Did you ever get that rash looked at? (last one was a joke…honest)

I will leave you with one last story.

When I first started teaching in Houjie, I met a young girl called Linda. She was the most petite human being I’d ever seen. About 7 years old, she had a speech impediment which prevented her from communicating effectively. I was under the assumption she would be a nightmare to teach, she’d just sit at the back and keep herself to herself surely.

I’ve met many students in the past 6 months but no one quite like Linda. The enthusiasm she bought into every class was…something else. Bare in mind this girl had never spoken English before in her life. When asked a question she’d stand and smile and try her best. By the time I left her she could count above and beyond 10, talk about the weather, say her age and ask casual questions, can you fly?, can you do magic tricks?

Bravery is about starting something with the knowledge that you could never possibly succeed.  With this definition in mind, Linda is one of the bravest little girls I’ve ever met.

Life isn’t about succeeding. When you start thinking you can succeed in life, it opens up the possibility of failing at life, and by most peoples definition of ‘success’ almost all the people in the world failed a long time ago. Not everyone has the perfect job, vast amounts of money, fame or fortune. Not everyone hits the jackpot. Not everyone wins. A fact that China has revealed to me time and time again.

I suppose it’s a lot like travelling. Don’t focus to much on the destination otherwise you won’t appreciate your exploits on the way. Balance your concentration on the beginning, the middle and the end of whatever you do.

Thanks for reading boys and girls.

Thank you China for the past 6 months.

It’s been a pleasure

And that, my dear friends, is that.

cause y’all needed one last photo. This is a blinder lisa took when we arrived, just after new year. The square was beautiful back then…

cause y’all needed one last photo. This is a blinder lisa took when we arrived, just after new year. The square was beautiful back then…


Beijing Pissed on Me

My last day in China and I’m kindly reminded about the curse of heavy rain.

It only ever rains when I’m halfway to a restaurant or somewhere similar.

Even got the cliched taxi splash. And I take back my kind words for the hostel. Bastards were useless when we arrived. Friendliest in Beijing my arse.

This post is for Alice, and for us to remember our final days in Beijing together.



The things I’ve learnt along the way…

I want to remind myself about the things I’ve learnt whilst being here, and the exceptions:

Relax and be patient. Unless on the Subway.

Coils are the best way of killing mosquitos. But a fly swat is satisfying

Don’t take life to seriously, but respect the people that do. Unless they’re twats.

Don’t let the Grade 2’s get you in a corner. No exception. They will take you down.

Evil exists everywhere. So does good. Cheesy but true.

Don’t be afraid to accept someone as superior to you, learning is easier that way. Just don’t sell yourself short. Learning is and always will be a two way street.

Smiling is a wonderful method of communication. Apart from when you’re looking at the back of a taxi drivers head.

Life is possible without Google! But far less informative.

Squat toilets are actually pretty cool. ...seriously, they are.

Don’t panic. Well you can, just don’t show it.

Learn all the games you can. Life is a game. Play the fuck out of it.

Don’t haggle for something if you don’t know it’s true value! I have lost a lot of money this way. Millionaires need not heed this advice.

Always book the sleeper. Never the hard seat. ALWAYS. ALWAYS!

Try everything once. Except heroin, rape and murder. Don’t do that. Seriously, Don’t.

Get lost. But not TOO lost.

Take a Camera. But not an expensive one.

Always lock your door. But make sure you have keys.

Don’t judge a restaurant by it’s cover. Judge it by the waiter.


184 - Dear China…

People talk about falling in Love with a country when they go travelling, and don’t get me wrong China, you’ve made a very lasting impression on me, and I do love you…I’m just not IN Love with you.

Now please, China, hear me out. It’s not you, it’s me. I’m sorry to put you through this but it’s just not going to work out. I need some space, some time to think things over.

We’ve had our moments. Remember that time I fell down a manhole? And all the beautiful vistas you’ve given me? And the teaching, the friends, the food, the beer. So many marvelous memories. Not to mention the glorious cities and the people.

But there are some things we just don’t see eye to eye on. The litter for one. The spitting. The theft. The public urination. No, China, please don’t cry…it’s who you are, and I wouldn’t want you to change because of me. You are perfect just the way you are, and don’t let any westerner tell you otherwise.

Anyway, the time has come for me to pack my bags and say goodbye. I will never forget our time together - you’ve truly opened my eyes to things I never thought I’d see, and you never know what the future holds, maybe, one day down the line, we’ll see each other again.

What’s that? You’ve found pictures of America on my laptop - why have you been going through my things?! I didn’t want you to find out this way. Ok, alright…I like the look of the states. There, I said it, are you happy now?! I haven’t set foot on her soil though…not yet at any rate.

Listen, what we had together can never be replicated. I don’t regret a single second of our time together and I’d do it all again in a heartbeat. Especially Yangshou, the Cinema trips, the Great Wall and all the friends and students I’ve met. But all good things come to an end.

You’ve been bloody brilliant and I will miss you

Be good and take care of yourself

Teacher Sam

p.s Maybe try and sort out the whole maniacal-omnipresent-paranoid-tyranical government thing…maybe…



They were all great - but some just stood out


Some of my final classes


182/183 - The longest Journey of my Life

I survived!

Time spent on train = 30 hours

Urination breaks = 3

Apples Eaten = 3

Number of books read = 1

Hours of sleep = 0.5

Card games played with random chinese = 23

Small children amused = 2

It was a marathon. The countryside of China is not as picturesque as England in my opinion. Just quite a bit of Scrubland and the odd farm so the window wasn’t much help. But we made it.

I’m currently lying in 9 Dragons Hostel, after a delicious meal and couple of cokes. Highly recommend this place if you’re ever in Beijing. Staff are charming.

Beijing hasn’t changed much. Sun is still missing and the pollution is everywhere. It’s warmed up a touch though which is nice.

Last full day in China tomorrow.

And then…then it’s time to go home.


181 - Farewell Houjie

That just about wraps it up for my time in Houjie, crime capital of southern China.

5 months down the line and I’ve had some experiences, made some friends and done things that I’ll never ever forget.

In my placement town I have been massaged, robbed, pampered, flattered, lectured, spat at, hugged, beaten, stared at and idiolised. Never did I think I’d create such a controversy.

I will miss this place and but more specifically the people. The teachers here have been an unending source of help and support.

So on we go, next stop Shenzhen, followed by 29 hour long train journey to Beijing. No bed this time round. God help me. Two days rest in Beijing, and then on to the U.K.

And for the last time, in the words of the great Daniel Kersbergen,

That’s all there is from Houjie, Dongguan, Guandong, PRC