An expat’s struggle in Lianyungang, China

Hey everyone!

So, today was a real struggle, despite starting my morning with so much positive energy. It was 18oC today so pretty warm after the real cold spell they’ve had here, so I wore my gym vest and a shirt over, but everyone made comments about how I ‘wasn’t wearing enough clothes’ or pointed or whispered at me. BUGGER OFF!!!

I tried so, so hard to ignore it but it just kept happening. At least 4 times today someone took a photo of me. Are you joking? If you were in England someone would have punched you for that. Ugh.

One woman stopped right in front of me and went ‘wowwwwwwwwwwwww wai guo ren’ (foreigner) – and that ‘wow’ was a real dramatic, drawn out wow. It was ridiculous.

Some guy followed me around the park. I tested him. I kept weaving in and out and he was always right there. Also annoying. Go away already.

So after 4 hours of walking around I went back to the Taiwanese cafe for lunch, the owner was there today so the service was insanely good. I had a salad with sesame dressing (still trying to get used to that taste) and some amazing chips. But unfortunately the place was quiet and all the staff were on their phones or playing games, and it was just so noisy.

I came home and tried to sleep but the neighbours were banging out, dragging chairs etc and there was so much noise from the traffic and construction work. I was absolutely overwhelmed with frustration, stress, homesickness. I couldn’t help but cry. And I felt so sick and exhausted I cancelled on the girls dinner, and let them go without me.

After attempting sleep, and failing, I decided to walk. I walked all the way to Wanda mall, which is about 30 minutes along the river and extremely peaceful. There’s hardly anyone along that road and it’s almost free from bikes and traffic so it’s nice to just wander along without worrying about getting run over!

I decided to try out this little cafe in the bookstore and the coffee was great! And only £2.20 which is pretty good for here. There was only two of us in the entire cafe and I’d brought my Chinese study books with me, so I managed to calm down until some couple came and sat RIGHT NEXT TO ME to watch movies and slurp their drinks.

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaall of my frustrations just came rushing back. They had the entire cafe free, to sit wherever they wanted, but no, they just had to sit next to me.

I wandered around the mall looking for stupid quotes / tshirts / hello kitty and sure enough I found some. But in one of the quirky shops there’s a woman who follows me every time I go in there and unfortunately she was there today. Picking up everything I did, telling me I need to go home to bed (at 9:30) and that foreigners need more sleep. She just doesn’t stop.

Thankfully, the woman in the bread shop was the nicest lady I’ve met in days! She said my accent was good and that my Chinese was really impressive and that I had a nice face. Haha. At least that was a nice ending to the day.

I took a really slow walk home, along the river again, and finally started to feel calm again. It’s been awful today. It wasn’t even a ‘bad’ day but it felt absolutely awful and all I’ve wanted to do is go home. But what’s the point? Go home to what? No job? No money? A town that’s only fun in the middle of summer? There’s no point really is there.

I think if I wasn’t here alone it might be manageable, but I don’t know. It’s definitely a challenge though.

Thankfully, and finally, my boss bought me a jar of marmite and they dropped it off this evening! So I’m currently winding down with lemon tea and a marmite sandwich as I write this.

Little things, little things.

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