Occupation : Emerging fashion designer
Years in China : 4 years
Hello! My name is Joyce and I come from Belgium. I’ve been living in China now for about 4 years. In the beginning, I got a job as an English teacher and at the moment I am trying to start my own business in fashion and writing a book in my spare time. They’re both a risk and I’m not sure if things are going to work out in the end, but I find enormous joy in doing those tasks and that’s what matters, right?
大家好！我叫 Joyce，来自比利时。我已经在中国生活 4 年了。一开始，我的工作是一名英语老师，目前我正试图从事时尚相关的工作，并用业余时间写一本书。这毕竟是一次冒险，我不确定最后是否会成功，但我能从中获得巨大的乐趣，这才是最重要的，不是吗？
My journey to China began at a young age. When I was a little girl, I was always very interested in China and its culture. It seemed like a whole other magical world to me. When I got older, that dream of travelling to China kind of vanished because of my adult responsibilities.
Fast forward to 2018, when I went through a really rough time in my life. I quit my job which I hated. I had no other work experience, so I didn’t have many options. I also lost my boyfriend of 3 years which led me into a depression. It felt like my life was turned upside down. Then one day, the thought of travelling to China came back into my mind. I didn’t have anything to lose anymore, so I took a big leap of faith and decided to come to China. A lot of my friends and family thought I was crazy to travel to China and they didn’t understand why. Luckily, my parents and brother never doubted me for a second and supported me through the whole journey, even when knowing how hard it would be having me so far away. Missing my family is for sure the hardest part of being in China. It made me realize how much I love them. In the end I realized, losing my job and boyfriend have been the best things that have happened to me!
2018 年，我经历了人生中非常艰难的时期。我辞去了我讨厌的工作，因为没有其他工作经验，所以我没有很多就业选择。我还与相恋 3 年的男友分手，这让我陷入了抑郁。感觉我的生活变得一团糟。直到有一天，去中国旅行的想法又出现在我的脑海中。我已经没有什么可失去的了，所以我抱着很大的信念，来到中国。我的很多朋友和家人觉得我疯了，竟然想去中国，他们不明白为什么。幸运的是，我的父母和哥哥从未质疑过我，他们在整个旅程中支持我，即使知道我离家那么远，日子会有多艰难。在中国，最难熬的时候就是想家的时候，这让我意识到我是多么爱我的家人。不过从结果来看，失去工作和男友或许是最好的事情！
So in April 2018 I took the next airplane to Kunming, Yunnan. And guess what, after 3 years, I’m still in Kunming. I just love it here! I like living in Kunming because of its nature. I have Romani roots and there’s a saying in our community that goes: ‘gypsies don’t do well inside concrete walls.’ That definitely applies to me. It’s also very easy to travel to other places in Yunnan which are absolutely beautiful! My favorites are Dali and Lijiang. But to be honest, I still have a lot of places I wish to visit in Yunnan.
2018 年 4 月，我乘坐飞机来到云南昆明。你猜怎么着，3 年后，我仍然在昆明。我就是喜欢这里！我喜欢住在昆明，因为我喜欢这里的自然环境。我有罗姆人（吉卜赛人）的血统，在我们的族群里有一句话是这样说的：“吉卜赛人不适合在室内工作。”这句话说的绝对是我。去云南的其他地方旅行也很方便，景色也是绝美！我最喜欢大理和丽江。但说实话，我还想去云南的许多其他地方。
Another thing I really like is that Chinese citizens are really kind! I love making small conversations with strangers, from young to old. It’s fascinating how something that’s so insignificant can put a smile on my face. Lastly, I love food and China has definitely broadened my taste pallet! Take me out to a hot pot restaurant and I’ll be like the happiest child. I have a sweet tooth and my Chinese grandma makes the best ‘八宝饭’, also I have learned to love the ‘over the bridge noodles’.
Some other things I like about China are the dancing ladies out in the street, the chaos of e-bikes riding through the streets and the convenience of WeChat and Taobao which don’t exist in my country.
My unique story: When I came to China in 2018, I was alone and I was pretty scared. But at the same time, that gave me the power to believe in my own choices and for the first time in my life, follow my dreams. After a few months, I was doing pretty well on my own, I was genuinely happy and didn’t need anything more. Then, in December 2018, I met my Chinese husband!
接下来说说我的独特经历。2018 年我只身一人来到中国，当时非常害怕。但同时，这也给了我力量，让我坚信自己的选择，这是我生命中第一次追寻自己的梦想。几个月后，我适应地非常好，过地非常开心、非常满足。2018 年 12 月，我在中国遇到了如今的丈夫，他是中国人！
I wasn’t interested in dating, but he really showed a lot of interest in me and he didn’t stop pursuing me. Until this day, he still does the same. I knew he was the one because I’ve never felt so safe and relaxed with someone. So we started dating. After a year he travelled with me to meet my family and then proposed to me on the Eiffel tower in Paris. 2 months later we were officially married. His family has welcomed me with open arms and I can feel they genuinely care for me. Right now, we’re living in our beautiful house with 2 adorable dogs and a cat.
What I appreciate the most about him is he taught me to slow down in life and enjoy the little things. Whereas in the past I would worry about my job, my reputation and appearance, I now enjoy the beautiful trees outside our house, walking the dogs to the park and my husband’s silly perks. I realized that besides my husband, pets and our house I don’t need much more to be happy. I want to use this opportunity to say thank you to him for always believing in me and making me a better person. I love you.
Lastly, I want to share with people the lesson I learned from my journey: Always follow your heart, because its voice is with you for your whole life. So you’d better listen to what it has to say. Ignore all the other voices.
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