It feels like it’s been ages since I talked to my blog readers, and it probably has been! Yesterday, I realized that it’s been two months since my last blog post. Although it didn’t seem that long to me, I’m sure that in virtual life, it’s like I’ve been gone for centuries. I don’t even know if there are still people reading this blog. It must have seemed like I just suddenly dropped from the face of the earth and abandoned you guys. My sincerest apologies for that.
Truth is, life has radically changed for me in the span of a few months. Same time last year, I was thinking about how to shake up my life. I really wanted to travel and see the world, but never did I imagine that I would end up just packing up my bags to live in a completely foreign place where I don’t even speak the language. I remember sitting alone at the airport’s departure area that time, a bundle of nerves. I was scared, not knowing what to expect, but I knew there was a great adventure ahead of me and that pushed me to go ahead with my crazy plan.
Now, here I am – a Filipina in China, trying to learn Mandarin and growing to love this beautiful country, quirks and all!
I now work at a mobile tech company in Guangzhou called UCWeb, Inc. At the risk of sounding like a brand manager, UCWeb is the creator of UC Browser, the number one mobile browser in China and India, with more than 400 million users worldwide. Coming from a small company of only 30 people, moving to a global company like UCWeb with thousands of employees is definitely a totally different experience for me! Not only is my workscope more challenging, I also have to cope with working in a global environment with people from different countries and work cultures. So far, I think I’m doing pretty well, but I’ll let me colleagues be the judge of that! 😀
The thing I love about Guangzhou is that it’s the perfect mix of old and modern, urban and country. I have been to most of the tourist spots here as I have scoured travel websites for places to go during my first few months. Temples, nature parks, museums, mountains, shopping districts – you name it! Of course, though, there are probably a ton more places that are waiting for me to explore. Places that are not listed in guidebooks, but I need some help from the locals for that.
The one thing that is sadly lacking from my experience so far is food. Guangzhou is known to be the place for one of the best cuisines in China, but I have yet to experience that. Although I have tried some very local Cantonese dishes, in general, I find Cantonese food a bit too bland for my taste. Moreover, Guangzhou doesn’t seem to have the same variety in food options as Manila does. I have been to a couple of Italian, Japanese, and Korean restaurants, but from experience, the quality of the food is not worth the prices they charge for it.
I think, though, that I need to make more of an effort to go find some nice restaurants here and blog about them. There’s a lack of restaurant reviews in English for places in Guangzhou. I might be able to help fill that gap. Would you like to read about the food here? 🙂
However, I gotta say that despite the absence of a lot of international brands here, Guangzhou is one of the best places to shop! There are a lot of ridiculously cheap things here if you know where to look. The boots I’m wearing in the photo above? I bought them for only RMB98 (PHP700/$16)! Such a steal! The quality’s not so bad either. Plus, they have a popular online shopping website here called Taobao that literally sells everything. You just need to learn some Chinese keywords though to find exactly what you want at cheap prices, but with Google Translate to help, it’s not such a big problem. 🙂
During the Spring Festival (Chinese New Year), my friends came over to visit and I was able to take them around the city. I showed them the many places I have learned to love here and I would like to believe that somehow, they also fell in love with Guangzhou if even for a bit.
Looking back, I still believe that I’ve made a crazy decision moving here. But in the end, it has all been worth it. Here in China, I learned a lot more about myself – what I’m capable of, who I am, and a glimpse of what I want to become. Plus, I’ve met some really cool people here, some who have grown very close to me.
A few months was all it took for me to fall in love with Guangzhou. Who knows? In a few months, I might also find love here.