征文5 ▏Roman: My China story has been a whirlwind

家外之家 2021
征文5 ▏Roman: My China story has been a whirlwind


Name : Ramone Turnquest, also known as Roman

姓名:Ramone Turnquest,也可称他为Roman

Country of Origin : The Bahamas


Occupation : Entrepreneur/Consultant


Years in China : 6 years


A portrait of Ramone Turnquest, currently based in Shanghai

How did your journey in China begin?


My journey in China began in the most drastic way. In 2013, I had just gotten out of a 5-year relationship and I just wanted to reinvent myself. At that time, I also found myself in a grey area professionally where I was overqualified for entry level positions but underqualified for senior roles. I had been living in UK for 10 years and wanted a new start in a new and exciting place. As a result, I randomly packed up my stuff and returned to the US where one night I ran into a very old friend who told me he was studying in China at Donghua University and he was about to graduate. He suggested that I should come back to China with him and learn Chinese which could make me more marketable professionally. The first thing I thought to myself was: ‘China? That’s too far!’ I applied for the student visa and the course just to appease my friend and did not really pay the idea of moving here any mind. 3 days later I learnt that my visa was approved and a couple weeks later I was on a plane on my way to Shanghai. I only initially planned to be here for the duration of the course which was 4 months long.

我的中国之旅充满戏剧性。2013 年,我刚结束 5 年的恋情,想要重新开始。那时,我发现自己在工作中正处于不上不下的尴尬位置,对于初级职位,我的资历过高,而对于高级职位,我的资历却不够。我在英国已经生活了10 年,所以想在一个新奇有趣的地方开启一段新生活。于是,我简单收拾了东西回到美国。一天晚上,我遇到一位老朋友,他说自己正在中国的东华大学读书,而且即将毕业。他建议我和他一起去中国学习汉语,这样我在职场上会更有竞争力。当时,我脑海里出现的第一个念头是:“中国?那也太远了吧!”。不过我还是申请了学生签证以及学习课程,但只是想应付我的朋友,并没有真正打算搬到这里来。三天后,我的签证得到了批准,几周后,我坐上了去上海的飞机。但我最初的打算仍然只是在这里学习四个月的课程。

Roman and his mother during her visit to China

What do you like most about your city and China as a whole?


Well, I’m still currently in Shanghai and I would say I love the convenience of the city. I love that I can walk out the house and I only need my mobile phone, no keys or wallet. Sheer convenience is what I am in love with. Shanghai is also very international and it reminds me so much of New York and London. It is a melting pot and I meet everyone from around the world from different cultures and backgrounds. Coming here definitely changed my perspective of China as it was very limited before. Specifically, I had always loved Chinese food at home but coming here I realized the food is vastly different from Chinese food in the West! We are taught only specific things about China but it could only be the furthest thing from the truth. What I also love about China is Taobao!!! It’s way faster than amazon and you can get literally ANYTHING on Taobao.我现在还在上海,在这里生活非常方便,出门只用带手机,而不用带钥匙或钱包,我喜欢这种极度的便利。上海是一个国际大都市,这让我想起了纽约和伦敦。上海是一个大熔炉,在这里,我可以遇到来自世界各地、不同文化和背景的人。以前,我对中国的认知有限,但来到上海后彻底改变了我的想法。我一直很喜欢中餐,但来到中国后才发现,这里的中餐与西方的中餐截然不同!我们过去接受的只是关于中国的特定知识,而这些知识很可能已经偏离了事实。此外,我还喜欢中国的淘宝!在淘宝上买东西不仅比亚马逊快,而且商品十分齐全,几乎什么东西都有。

Enjoying the Shanghai nightlife with friends

What fascinated you the most about living in China?


The fact that China is changing at an extremely fast speed. When I first came in 2013 there was no Alipay, Didi and we only really used QQ, not WeChat. I have seen buildings be demolished and be replaced with luxury skyscrapers in a couple of months. Where I am from and where I have lived, I saw that change takes a long time to happen and sometimes that’s annoying but not in China. Change happens overnight.

最吸引我的是中国飞快的发展速度。2013 年,我第一次来到中国,那时还没有支付宝和滴滴打车,也没有微信,我们只用 QQ交流。然而,就在短短几个月时间里,老建筑陆续被拆除,摩天大楼拔地而起。在我的家乡和其他生活过的地方,这种变化往往耗时冗长且十分聒噪,但中国刷新了我的认知,改变似乎只在一夜之间。
Attending Shanghai Fashion Week

What is your unique China story?


Actually, how I ended up staying in China is my unique China story. When my visa was coming to an end after studying Chinese, I was replying to some emails and a company I applied to in London a couple months back had reached out to me to say they were trying to get into contact with me. I told them I was currently in China at the moment and if we could do the interview on Skype since I was not physically in London. They replied and after a conversation they said that they have subsidiaries in Shanghai and if I would be interested in staying here and joining them. It was definitely not in my cards to stay here as I initially wanted to just learn Chinese and leave after a couple of months and return back to London but 8 years later, I am still working here, I own a business and did random stuff like star in a movie, be on the front row of Fashion Week Shanghai which led to me being on the cover of a magazine here. My China story has been a whirlwind.

事实上,我决定留在中国就是我的独特故事。我学完中文后,签证即将到期。记得当时我正在回复一些电子邮件,几个月前我在伦敦申请的一家公司联系了我,表示想进一步与我沟通。我告诉他们我正在中国,是否可以在 Skype 上进行线上面试。经过一番交谈后,他们表示在上海有分公司,询问我是否愿意留在上海工作。我原本只想学习几个月的中文再返回伦敦,从来没想过留在中国。但是到现在8年过去了,我依然在中国工作,而且我不仅有了自己的公司,还做了一些其他的事情,比如当电影明星、坐在上海时装周的前排(这让也我登上了上海的杂志封面)。我的中国故事更像是一场旋风之旅。

Roman even starred in a Chinese movie!

Some background on his home country:


The Bahamas has over 700 islands in total with only 30 of them currently being inhabited. Famous Bahamian islands include the Exumas which have an extraordinary pig beach where you can swim with pigs! Harbor Island which is known for its beach has natural pink sand and many more!

pig beach

作者:Roman 翻译:邓忠悦

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