Name : Christopher Weeks
Country of Origin : United Kingdom
Occupation : Foreign Language Kindergarten Teacher
Years in China : 8 (5.5 in mainland and 2.5 in Taiwan)
How did your journey in China begin?
On January 1st 2013, I was sitting with a friend eating brunch in Manchester, nursing a particularly bad hangover, and reflecting on the previous year. I made a promise that in 2013, I would move to a different country for work. On February 2nd, I landed in Madrid, Spain, which is a different story. On July 17th 2013, I landed in Fuzhou, Fujian ready to start “a year, maybe two in China” working as an English teacher at a training school. I moved across the strait to Taipei for a few years before returning back to Fuzhou, and eventually moving to Xiamen, a city I first visited in October 2013. 8 years later, I still have no plans to go back to the UK.
2013 年 1 月 1 日，在曼彻斯特一夜宿醉过后，我和一个朋友正坐着吃早午餐，并反思过去的一年。我曾下定决心要在 2013 年搬到另一个国家工作。于是 2 月 2 日，我降落在西班牙马德里，这又是另外的故事了。2013 年 7 月 17 日，我降落在福建福州，准备在一所培训学校当一年或者两年的英语老师。之后我又搬到海峡对岸的台北住了几年然后回到福州，最终于2013 年 10 月首次来到厦门。8 年过去了，我依旧没有回英国的打算。
What do you like most about your city and China as a whole?
The cafes. I have always enjoyed the cafes of the cities I have lived in (Fuzhou, Taipei, Xiamen). They have been home to my constant journey of learning and forgetting Mandarin, writing lesson plans and playing board games. I have seen the quality of the cafes in terms of taste and environment improve over the years and Xiamen has an abundance of nice places to relax and have a latte or single origin coffee.
What fascinated you the most about living in China?
Initially, the reason I came, was because I knew no one who had been here, and I wanted to work and travel somewhere a bit different. I originally dreamed of living in Shanghai, until I have grown older and weary of the “people mountain people sea,” three-hour queues to eat at Hai Di Lao and unable to find a seat easily in cafes. Xiamen for me is the perfect size and population. These days, I just love to wander and explore, as you never know what surprises hide around the corner or down an alley. I am fortunate to know people who guide me to places I would have never have discovered myself, and I hope one day to say I have visited every cafe on the island.
Could you list some of your favorite spots in your city?
I love going up to the Sightseeing Tower, north of Bai Lu Zhou Park. and next to the Mountain to Sea Trail. Though the building is shut at night, if you are on the viewing platform in front of it at 10:30 p.m, you can see the “light off” show, as all the building lights gradually turn off around Xiamen, which is quite fun.
我喜欢去白鹭洲公园北面的观光塔，它紧挨着厦门山海健康步道。虽然观光塔晚上不开门，但如果晚上 10:30 你在前面的观景台上，就能看到“熄灯”秀，因为厦门周边的大楼灯都逐渐熄灭了，非常有趣。
What is your unique China story?
The reason I love living in China itself is it is rarely boring, and every day has the potential to be interesting, be it for better or worse. Instead of a particular story, here are a few unique moments.
• Being hit on the head by a woman with an umbrella while dressed as a panda after a Halloween activity after we tried to join in square dancing.
• Watching an ayi scream as a rat ran around my apartment kitchen, only for my American flat mate to stomp on it. RIP Ratty.
• Signing my autograph and having my photo taken, because a drunk Chinese gentleman thought I was Lionel Messi.
• Going for a quiet drink and it turning into a nightclub outing, full of pillow fights and feathers covering the nightclub.
• Watching a security guard spit in a man’s face on Shenzhen Metro, because the man spat on the floor in the metro station.
• Seeing a goat solve a math problem.
• Watching my laptop cable melt and set on fire after plugging it in a hostel in Shanghai.
• Having a bust made of my head in 20 minutes on the street in the pouring rain of Hangzhou.
• 在杭州的瓢泼大雨中，我在街上用 20 分钟做了一个半身雕像。
• Going to see the beautiful views from Huangshan, only to have fog and visibility of 5m.
• 去黄山看美景，却碰上大雾天，能见度只有 5 米。
• Meeting an ex African professional soccer player on the Great Wall of China.
• Being the first foreigner an elderly woman in her eighties had ever seen.
• Exploring Fuzhou post typhoon after the river banks burst.
• Seeing a mermaid rescue a man in a business suit to the tune of Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On.”
• A journey back from Shenzhen to Fuzhou, which involved eight people in a six-seater vehicle, dropped off at a service station, and running to get a bunk on a coach, and being trapped behind toilet fumes for eight hours.
• Seeing my old teaching assistants start families and speaking in English with their children.
Some background on his home country：
The first ever UK branch of KFC was opened in Preston in 1965. That predates McDonalds by about a decade.