My name is Adam Loomis and I come from a small farm town in the United States of America. I’ve been living in Xiamen for seven years and working as an English teacher. Let me tell you how I got here and why I’ve stayed.
My first glance of Xiamen was out the plane window as it flew over the island. Outside, the city looked like a neon beacon of new possibilities in the inky blackness of the night below. It wasn’t only my first view of Xiamen, it was my first of China and little did I know, my first view of a place that would become my new home.
That was seven years ago. I had never lived away from the U.S. before moving here. So when the time came to make the decision to move to a country so vastly different from my own, on the other side of the world, that I had never even visited, it was a scary decision. I still remember my parents seeing me off at JFK airport and the immense feelings of trepidation, doubt and fear swirling around in my mind. At the same time though, being filled with so much hope, excitement and wonderment at this new stage of my journey in life.
I was living in Brooklyn, New York at the time and got an offer to teach English here in Xiamen. The city seemed a perfect fit. I grew up living close to the ocean and spent every summer at the beach and as such the idea of moving to a beautiful sub-tropical island surrounded by sand, surf and sun was too good to pass up. I accepted the job and three months later I was landing on the tarmac at Xiamen airport.
My new foreign friends were very quick to enlighten me on the “island life” culture here in Xiamen. Moving from a crowded, fast-paced city like New York to the more relaxed atmosphere of a tier-two city like Xiamen was a very big relief. I immediately liked how the people here kind of moved a little slower and were more relaxed. The palm trees and blue skies just make everything seem so much more laid back and peaceful. That’s one of the biggest attractions of Xiamen for me, the intermixing of modern life and nature. Even on busy transit lines like the BRT, vines and flowers and plants grow alongside of it. There are palm tress outside of my window. There are thirty story apartment buildings and modern architecture right next to beaches and traditional Chinese architecture, hundreds of years old. Xiamen feels very traditional while still mixing in enough international influence.
我的外国新朋友向我介绍了厦门的“岛屿生活”文化。从像纽约这样拥挤、快节奏的城市搬到像厦门这样悠闲的二线城市，心情顿时舒畅。我很快喜欢上了这里的人们，他们慢悠悠的，安逸闲适。棕榈树和蓝天更添一份悠闲和平静。这就是厦门最大的魅力之一，现代生活和自然环境相互交融。即使在 BRT 繁忙的线路上，也能看见藤蔓和花草在路边生长。我的窗外有棕榈树。海滩和有几百年历史的中国传统建筑旁边，矗立着 30 层的公寓楼和现代建筑。厦门给人的感觉是非常传统的，同时又是一座国际化都市。
I quickly came to love Chinese food. One of my favorite tourist spots here is Zengcuo’an. I love all the different options for Chinese street food. Living in New York for five years I was a huge fan of food trucks and street carts so when I found so many options here I was very excited to try everything. My first day here, my boss took me to Coyote for lunch, the best Mexican restaurant in the city. I was blown away that there even was a Mexican restaurant in Xiamen let alone one that was authentic. One of the biggest worries I had about moving here was the food. I was really worried about missing a lot of the foods I loved. It was a huge relief to find that Xiamen had plenty of Western restaurants.
我很快就喜欢上了中国的美食。我最喜欢的旅游景点之一是曾厝垵，喜欢各式各样的街头美食。在纽约生活的五年里，我是小吃车和路边摊的超级粉丝。我发现厦门也有如此多的美食，感到非常兴奋，想尝遍各种美味。来到厦门的第一天，老板带我去了 Coyote 吃午饭，这是厦门最棒的墨西哥餐厅。我十分震惊，不敢相信厦门竟然有墨西哥餐厅，而且非常正宗。来到厦门最大的担忧就是“吃”，我真的很担心会错过很多喜欢的美食。但令我欣慰的是，厦门有很多西餐厅。
The biggest thing that makes Xiamen my home away from home is the diverse group of friends i’ve made. I’ve met people from the U.K., Australia, Russia, Ghana and countless other countries. That’s why I love living here so much. I’m getting so much experience and knowledge I would never have gotten back home. I’ve become a citizen of the world as a whole just from living here in China.
I’ve visited as many different cities in China as I could to learn more about the culture and life here. I think one of the biggest stereotypes that has been broken for me is the sheer diversity of Chinese culture and people. Every province, district and city has completely different cultural traditions, foods, customs and languages. I always knew China was a big country but as a person who never traveled much before I was blown away by the sheer massiveness of China. Not just the actual land, but it’s people, culture and history. In Xiamen I can order the latest fusion cuisine lunch from a robot ordered on an iPad and later buy dinner from a woman on the side of the street who has been making the same dish for forty years in the traditional Minnan style. My 中文 has gotten pretty good but the fact that in parts of Xiamen I can’t even understand what people are saying because they speak a different dialect is fascinating. Let alone the next city over. Again, the sheer diversity of China is mind- blowing.
我拜访了中国的许多城市，了解每个城市的文化和生活。来到中国以后，深藏在我脑海里的传统观念被打破了，中国文化的确拥有巨大的多样性。每个省、区、市都有完全不同的文化传统、美食、习俗和方言。我知道中国是一个大国，但我从来没有去过这么多地方，中国确实幅员辽阔，人口众多，拥有厚重的文化和历史，令人震惊。在厦门，我可以使用 iPad 订购世界各国的料理，也可以吃路边摊，大姐坚持 40 年做同一道闽南风味的菜肴。我的中文已经很好了，但在厦门一些地方，我甚至听不懂人们在说什么，更不用说周边城市了，因为他们说的是不同的方言，这一点很吸引人。同样，中国的多样性也是令人惊诧的。
My longterm goal is to eventually settle down here in China, start a family and maybe open my own language school or similar business. I want to contribute to the future of China in whatever way I can. I love living here. China has become my home away from home and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I am eternally grateful to everyone who has made this experience so amazing and especially the people and friends who have welcomed me into their home and showed me why I want to make it my home too. 我爱中国！