征文16 ▏Aziz: Xiamen brings locals and foreigners together

家外之家 2021
征文16 ▏Aziz: Xiamen brings locals and foreigners together


Name : Aziz Sipho Matthews

姓名:Aziz Sipho Matthews

Country of Origin : South Africa


Occupation : English Teacher and Trainer


Years in China : 5 years



Greetings to anyone who might be reading this. It’s been a while since I’ve written anything meaningful so let me start off by telling you a little bit about myself. I first came to China roughly five years ago which was 1 year after I had finished university. Uncertain of what I wanted to do with the rest of my life, one thing I was certain of was that a change was needed. I began looking into various opportunities abroad and stumbled upon the option of teaching English in China. Having travelled to most parts of the world, I thought: “What could be more different than China, right?”


After doing some research, I discovered the city of Xiamen. The pictures were mesmerizing and it was probably as close to the sea as one could get. I have a deep connection to the ocean so everything seemed ideal. Next thing I knew my bags were packed and I landed in Beijing Daxing International Airport. Immediately the culture shock of living in China hit me. The sense of mass confusion was overwhelming at first but there was always someone to help out in some way or form until eventually I made it to Xiamen. I moved into my “one-bedroom” apartment and began to become acclimatized to the people of China, my students and job, and of course, the weather. Shortly after I experienced my first typhoon and it was definitely super! Meranti was massive and seeing Mother Nature in all its destructive glory was an eye opener like none other. This began my journey in China.


Aziz on his way to China for the first time, 5 years ago

It’s difficult to put into words what I love most about Xiamen but one thing I’ve come to love over the past 5 years is definitely its people. The food, the culture, the interaction between what is considered local and foreign, have all created an experience that has been remarkable to say the least. The city itself seems to expand and change at an unimaginable rate which almost forces one to stay on their toes. I came to China for change after all and I can see that change in Xiamen on almost every block. I can’t wait to explore more of this gorgeous city and look forward eagerly to what might change next.

我很难用语言表达最喜欢厦门的什么,但在过去 5 年中,我无疑非常喜欢厦门人。这里的食物、文化以及当地与外国的交流,都创造了一种非凡的体验。这座城市本身似乎在以一种难以想象的速度扩张和改变,让人们保持警觉。毕竟我来中国是为了改变,在厦门的每个街区都能看到改变。我迫不及待的想探寻这座城市的芳华,热切期待接下来可能发生的变化。

Aziz captures a moment in Xiamen

I think there is nothing particularly unique about my experience in China. There have been good times and bad times. I’ve fallen in and out of love and had a chance to meet people from all over the world. Those experiences both good and bad are cherished nonetheless and I guess that’s what makes my experience of China and Xiamen unique. One thing I can say though is that I have developed a love, whether fortunate or unfortunate is yet to be seen, for baijiu. Niu Lan Shan in particular has become somewhat of a staple and those that know me personally can attest to that. In Xiamen, there seems to be a bit of a drinking culture amongst both locals and foreigners which is something I can relate to coming from Cape Town, South Africa.


South Africa is often fondly referred to as “the Rainbow Nation”. This is largely due to the fact that South Africans come in all shapes, sizes and colors. My hometown, Cape Town, is great example of this. “The Mother City”, as we sometimes call it, was historically established as a refreshment station for the Dutch, British, Spanish and Portuguese, in their search for spices from “the East”. Along the way many sailors, slaves, and indentured laborers decided to stay and mix with the local population and so Cape Town was born. The city began to thrive and people moved into the hinterland forming the country we now know as South Africa. This mixing of people and therefore culture, for better or for worse, has been what I have come to truly appreciate in life so I’d like to thank Master Translations for this opportunity to share a little bit of my story with you. I hope you enjoyed it.


Aziz’s friends sharing a laugh in Cape Town

作者:Aziz 翻译:潘泽彬

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