Exploring China through the eyes of Bill and Grace!

At the desk of a reception in a dimly lit Filipino hostel, early September 2016 is where it all began. The scene was less than romantic, looking ‘drop dead gorge’ stepping off of a hellish journey from Manila and Will feeling weary, very hung-over and frosty. Alas, this was our serendipity moment.. ahhhhh I know you’re thinking it’s so cute.. but no, the reality of meeting your loved one in a South East Asian hostel makes the birth of this love story far more crass than Romeo and lady J’s! Although eye’s met through my dewy complexion across that sweatbox reception, our first real encounter was far grimier than Disney and involved my pee and a flush consultation.

Popping my head gingerly around the toilet door ‘Excuse me, so sorry to bother you, erm, it’s just that, I have, err, I have used the toilet, and err, I erm can’t seem to navigate the flush’. Strapping but can I add not super willing Will, stepped in to proceed to flush my pee away and save the day. So, some love stories start off with eyes across a bar and some start in the playground of primary school; ours, fresh urine, no flush, and altogether a mass of awkwardness.
Anyway, this is all just a small detail now as we look back over a very exciting 18 months we’ve shared together in Beijing! Will got a job here first and then I moved out to meet him a few months later. it was a huge move for both of us in every way; culturally, professionally and personally.
Our families were both very apprehensive about our move to China. I know that both of our Mum’s, in particular, didn’t want to snip that umbilical chord, especially to emancipate their babies to such a ‘scary’ part of the world. This concern actually was the foundation for our vlog and why we share what we do with you guys! In the West, China is very misinterpreted. Now, this is not meant in a snobby, cultural shaming way by any means because I probably had some skewered thoughts myself before moving here! But now we live our everyday lives here in Beijing, we have realized that it is a capital city with everything and more you could ask for.

Firstly the people. We have never met Bruce Lee, nor have we met General Tso. (Psst, neither of these things are Chinese, sorry to break all perceptions!). But we have met some pretty awesome characters – Chinese and expats alike. Yes at times we have found that some Chinese people have been difficult to coexist alongside and well if you want any kind of manners avoid the subway between 7-10 am, but HELLO!! we live in the eighth most populated city in the world. The spitting and bulging bellies of Beijingnanren (Beijing finest gentlemen) popping up on every street corner were also something you get used to, every place is likely to have something you have to deal with! What I do know is that Chinese people are among the most patriotic of any nation I have met and very willing and enthusiastic in sharing their stories with you. You can see this is our Shanghai vlog where we met Gu who gave us the most in-depth analysis of the Marriage Market that takes place in Shanghai’s Peoples Park

Chinese peoples intrigue for expats is something that you think might put many people off but having lived here we see this from a very different perspective. The stares and points are not because they are trying to intimidate nor are they staring because we are freaks but they are purely admiring our pasty, fair complexions and interested in what has brought us to their beloved motherland. You can check out the generosity of our sidewalk neighbours in the Wudaoying and nanluoguxiang videos where you can see they just want to be friends with the ‘laowai’s’ (foreigners)!
Secondly the culture. When making our vlogs, we find it impossible to avoid immersing our audience in the culture that we live in because it is every way you turn. Something beautifully quaint about Beijing is that it really hasn’t lost any of its core cultural values despite its rapid globalization over the last 10 years. The narrow streets known as Hutongs make up a large part of Beijing. Something we had never heard before we moved here was any form of Chinese music. In the West we are not very familiar with choral or instrumental Chinese music but since living here, you cant move for it in most public parks. Our favourite park to visit is Jingshgang Park. Not only does it have a fab view overlooking the famous forbidden city but there are Chinese choirs and bands scattered across the whole grounds.  Another big element that makes up Chinese culture is the food. Food, glorious food! And an abundance of it! Chinese people love to eat. And they don’t always like to eat what you think! If you want a wholeeee street crammed full of Chinese treats watch of our Wangfujing vlog

You can feast your eyes on some yummy delicacies buuut unfortunately, there are some less appetizing servings! You have been warned!
Thirdly the place. I don’t think there are many other cities we will live in where we can pop to one of the Seven Wonders of the World for an overnight break from the city. But Beijing is more than just The Great Wall and Peking Duck. It offers so much for everyone – and this is just from what we can comment on! There are still so many parts of the city that we are yet to explore. Our vlogs are a taster of top spots and how we like to spend our time here. As I mentioned before, Beijing has its fair share of parks ideal for chilling in with a picnic or hiking up to gaze over an ancient treasure (JingShan).

Keep watching to discover more about China with us and subscribe to never miss out on our future fun!
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