Name : Thara McDonald
Country of Origin : New Zealand (half Kiwi, half Thai)
Occupation : Educator
Years in China : Approximately 2 Years
How did your journey in China begin?
In 2017 I was living in New Zealand and at that time, applying for jobs in China since I always wanted to experience living here. I got an offer to teach in an extremely rural district in Jiangxi, however, after talking with my mom she advised me to explore the possibility of teaching in Thailand since she is originally from there. I ultimately caved in, moved to Thailand to teach and didn’t take the offer in China, instead I suggested that my best friend, Rob, would be a good fit for the Jiangxi job. After a year of teaching in Thailand I decided to visit China for the first time to see how my friend Rob was settling in. It was ironic that when I first went to Thailand, the lady who sat next to me was from Yunnan and we became really good friends which led to me having an extra reason to visit here! I travelled around China for a bit to see what living here was really like and I was extremely impressed! I had an awesome holiday and decided in January 2019 that I would move here. I got an offer from a school I liked around March but however, due to some complications, it was extremely difficult to process my visa and it ended up taking close to 6 months. Just as my luck would have it, 2 weeks before I moved, I got into a motorcycle accident which injured my leg and would mean that I would have to limp onto my flight. To add insult in injury, on the day that I was supposed to move to China, I ended up missing my flight even though I got to the airport 20 hours early! I felt as if fate was not allowing me to move to China. Luckily in the end, I moved to Fuzhou and worked there for close to a year and now I live in Shaoxing.
2017年，当时还在新西兰的我一直想去中国工作，因为我想体验那里的生活。我得到了一份offer，在江西一个非常偏远的农村教书。但是，我和妈妈交流后，她建议如果有可能的话，就在泰国教书，因为她是泰国人。我最终听从了她的建议，来到泰国教书，并没有接受中国的offer，而是把这个机会让给了最好的朋友 Rob，因为他很适合。在泰国教了一年书后，我决定首次前往中国，我想看看 Rob 能否适应那里的生活。巧合的是，在首次去往泰国的飞机上，坐在我旁边的女士竟然来自云南，我们成了非常要好的朋友，这也是我去中国的另一个原因。我在中国玩了一段时间，这里的生活方式给我留下了非常深刻的印象！我在中国度过了一个很棒的假期。2019 年1月，我决定搬到中国。3月左右我收到了一封心仪学校的录用通知书。但由于一些复杂的原因，办理签证极其困难，花了将近 6个月的时间。祸不单行，搬去中国的前两周，我遭遇了一场摩托车事故，腿受伤了，这意味着我必须一瘸一拐地登上飞机。雪上加霜的是，前往中国当天，即使我提前 20个小时到了机场，还是错过了航班！我觉得命运似乎不让我搬到中国。但结局终归是幸运的，我来到了福州，在那里工作了将近一年。我现在住在绍兴。
What do you like most about your city and China as a whole?
I love Shaoxing because there’s water and canals everywhere which fascinates me! Everyone always calls Shaoxing the “Venice of China” and I would see why it could be described in that way! The canals and waterways actually inspired me to build my own boat but I elaborate on that later on.
What fascinated you the most about living in China?
I love the sheer convenience of living in China! Even when I visited here as a tourist, I loved using WeChat Pay and was fascinated by just how convenient the average Chinese person lives their lives. Waimai, Didi and TaoBao are some of my favorites, especially since you can get anything on TaoBao (I even ordered baby chickens once! And considered buying an ostrich but got discouraged by my good friends).
What is your unique China story? Tell us something that you experienced that made you love living here even more.
I have plenty! The first would be the story on how I randomly decided to build a boat. What I love the most about China is that I can have an idea and I could make my idea a reality because I can find anything here. A couple months ago, I was having a discussion about buoyancy with the Physics teacher at the school I work at and I wondered what would it take for me to build a boat and it not sink. Luckily, there is a huge lumber market near my apartment so I picked up my skateboard and skated there to get some wood for my boat. In my mind, I wanted my boat to be 3 meters long but I ended up with enough wood to build 4 meters. I couldn’t take the wood back to my apartment on my skateboard so a kind gentleman at the market offered to drop me to my apartment with everything I bought! I’m happy to report that my boat worked and I was actually able to sail it to the supermarket, buy groceries and come back!
The second unique story that I would like to share would be the time I tried to hike from Fuqing, Fujian to Fuzhou. My friend and I had a plan of walking between the two places without going on any established trails or tracks. However, in the middle of the hike we discovered that we had no water with us or in any of the surrounding areas which led to us being extremely dehydrated so we headed back to where we started. The journey back was terrible as the bush was extremely thick and I felt like we were walking on tree tops for over 12 hours with no water. To make matters worse, I accidentally went through a hornets’ nest and got stung more than 20 times!!!
Add a random fun fact about your country or hometown.
Even though I am originally from New Zealand, I feel extremely nomadic and I sincerely believe that home is where the heart is.
Thara loves Li Bai’s poem and he likes to recite his favourite one when he meets new Chinese friends:
With talent, even if I lose everything, I can still make it back.
作者：Thara McDonald 翻译：潘泽彬
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