Name : Becky Ances
Country of Origin : USA
Occupation : Teacher
Years in China : 12 years
How did your journey in China begin?
I remember my first full day in China at the new school I was contractually obligated to live and work at for the next 6 months. Because of jet lag I woke up really early and had hours until I met my boss, so I decided to explore the area around the campus, and maybe find the city center and places like supermarkets and restaurants in my new home in Zhejiang Province.
It was a little after dawn, in August, but it was already oppressively hot and humid. My shirt was wet with sweat before I even reached the school gates. While the school was neat and orderly, outside the gate was another story. The road was just a dirt/rubble path and the buildings were half demolished. I would find out later that it was due to a revitalization program for the area, and within a few years they would have a shiny new paved road and dozens of new, handsome buildings, but at the time I thought that’s what it was always gonna look like and my new China home was more like a war zone than a livable city.
As I walked down the road/rubble pile I saw more chicken and mangey, starved dogs than people. The people I did see, like a woman doing washing in a plastic tub, eyed me suspiciously. After a seemingly endless journey I arrived at a paved road and an intersection. I had no idea which direction the city center lay so I chose at random. I walked along the paved road, but the only cars out and about at this early hour were giant construction trucks filled with rocks and rubble. There was no sidewalk, so I hugged the side of the road as these giant trucks rumbled and roared past me.
After about 30 minutes, with sweat and dust covering me, still scared of all the trucks passing dangerously close to me, I realized I had chosen the wrong direction and seemed to be heading away from the city. Defeated I turned around to walk back home. My throat was parched and scratchy from all the dust the trucks were kicking up. I wanted, no needed, a bottle of water. I passed by what maybe looked like little shops, they had some faded Coke signs on the wall, a cooler against the wall, but they were just cement buildings, with no door, no sign, and a few older guys in boxers and white tank tops fanning themselves and staring at me unkindly. I was too nervous to approach any of these little cement stores and I had no idea how to say “water” in Chinese, so I just kept walking hoping I would make it to my new apartment before passing out of dehydration.
When I finally made it home after about an hour (though it felt like an eternity), I guzzled a jug of water and cleaned the dust from my face, promising myself that I would never leave my house without an escort and translator. In all the months of preparing myself for China, I never once imagined I’d find myself in a situation like I just had. I had been excited, nervous about this new adventure, curious about what it would be like, but never scared. Not until that first day. As I was wiping dust from my face, I chided myself for being such an idiot and wondering how I could get back to America as fast as possible.
But seeing as how I not only finished the first 6 months contract successfully but then signed another and another and now it is 12 years later, I can say despite that nightmare of a morning I quickly overcame any problems and ended up loving that dirt road and living in China.
What is your unique china story?
If you know me at all, this answer is obvious: badminton. I grew a wallflower/art kid, going to art school and hating anything physical and thought jocks were dumb. But when I moved to Xiamen at the tender age of 39 (after living in Zhejiang Province for 5 years), I made friends with an international group that played badminton twice a week. I went one night, just thinking it would be a one-time thing, but that night changed my life. Within a few months I ended up buying sports equipment (and clothing) for the first time in my life, finding a coach and began a sports journey at the age of 40 that took me from finding a romantic partner, to interviewing top professional players and starting my own YouTube channel. There have been three big passions in my life, and badminton is one of them. I would have never found it in any other city besides Xiamen.
如果你认识我的话，那么你可能已经猜到答案了——羽毛球。我从小就是一个喜欢艺术的孩子，上艺术学校，讨厌一切运动，并且觉得运动员都很傻。但当我 39 岁那年搬到厦门（也就是在浙江生活了 5 年之后），我交到了一群国际朋友，他们每周打两次羽毛球。有天晚上我加入了他们，以为可能也就仅此一次，结果那天晚上完全颠覆了我的人生。几个月之内，我不仅第一次购买了运动装备，还找了教练，在人生 40 岁的时候开启了我的运动之旅。这段旅程让我找到了伴侣，开始采访顶级职业运动选手，并且在油管上开设了自己的频道。我的人生中有三种激情，羽毛球就是其中之一，如果不是厦门，我是不可能做到这一切的。
Some background on her home country：
The first free public library in America was founded in my hometown in 1833. Most people think Boston had the first free public library but it didn’t open until 1858. The population of my hometown is only 6,000 people, so it is a point of town pride!
大多数人认为波士顿拥有第一个免费公共图书馆，但其实不是，它直到 1858 年才开放。美国第一个免费公共图书馆于 1833 年在我的家乡建立。而我的家乡人口只有 6000 人，所以这是非常了不起的一件事！
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