Travelers & New Friends

Happy Sunday everyone ✌🏼
Are you having a great weekend?! I hope so!
Something I used to struggle with when we first moved to Guangzhou was that we would go about our daily lives without spotting another Westerner. I hated that we stuck out so much. A BIG contrast to living in Singapore where a large percentage of the population is made up of expats, so “our kind” were everywhere. It’s something I’ve got used to and now don’t tend to realise as much so it’s funny that I now notice the opposite, when Westerners are everywhere! The Canton Fair – China’s largest trade show – has been on for the last few weeks so people from all over the world have suddenly appeared in the supermarkets, shopping malls and metro stations. Now that it’s over there’ll be a mass exodus of visitors and we’ll go back to being the minority… which I’ve kind of grown to like 😉
I always used to write on my blog about strange things happening to us but it seems that now we’re over 1 year into this adventure those experiences have stopped, or we’ve just got used to everything and nothing seems strange anymore! A few weeks ago we went for a walk around Tianhe stadium one evening after dinner and were approached by a group of Chinese people, probably around 20-25 years old, dressed in their smart work uniforms with pen and lipstick all over their faces. I think they must have been on a post-work outing and were definitely drunk, but they were all asking to add us on WeChat (the Chinese equivalent of WhatsApp) and wanted us to take selfies with them. They seemed to swarm around us for no more than 5 minutes before vanishing again, leaving us standing there like “what the hell just happened?!”. It was a little overwhelming but very funny… and now I’m pretty sure my parents are convinced that it happens to us daily! Unfortunately the selfies mentioned were taken with their phones so I don’t have photographic evidence of the encounter, but my dad filmed the whole thing..

My parents have now officially left China! The first few days after having people to stay are always a bit sad but I’m expecting to feel especially mopey for a bit longer just because it takes a while to get back into the groove of long distance text messages and FaceTime calls. There are a few places that I wish we could have taken them while they were here, but like I said before the weather wasn’t particularly nice on the days we had off so being outside would have been a bit miserable (yes, I’m talking about the weather again… I’m British. It’s our favourite topic 😂). In between the showers/downpours we ventured out as much as possible, one of those afternoons being a trip to The Temple of the Six Banyan Trees (Liurong Temple), somewhere Toby and I have visited a few times now because the architecture is so beautiful and it’s such a peaceful place amongst the hustle and bustle of city life. The area is made up of several different halls and pagodas that were built among 6 banyan trees in 537 – hence the name, chosen by a litterateur who was visiting from the North during the Song Dynasty (960 – 1279). The history here dates back around 1,400 years! Something I really wanted my mum & dad to experience while they were here is the culture and I’m happy that they immersed themselves as much as possible, even giving us the names of a few places to visit that we haven’t been to before. Needless to say our “Things To Do in Guangzhou” list has grown and I can’t wait to do some more exploring of our own.

We knew May would be a quiet month between my parents leaving and our next guests arriving (our best friends from Singapore are coming to see us in June – wooop!) so we’d planned to pack as much into this next month as possible. This weekend we’ve been in Shenzhen, our neighbouring city, to see an American band on Friday night called Fall Out Boy – nostalgia overload! They were huge in the 2000’s and some of their music takes me right back to high school so we couldn’t resist buying tickets when we heard they’d be in China. It was such a fun night out and we had a blast singing along to their songs! It was also a great excuse to come and explore a new city which is only 1 ½ hours from us by train, so it’s been a weekend very well spent. Next week we are off on a fun little trip again, but this time to Cambodia which I am VERY excited about! We’re lucky enough to have visited most South-East Asian countries while we lived in Singapore but we never found the time for this one so I’m really looking forward to finally being able to visit Angkor Wat and experience a new culture.
Look out for englishgirlincambodia, coming soon to a blog post near you! 😂
Oh and I’m also thinking of cutting my hair. Short. Really short. I’ll probably hate it BUT the humidity is rising here and I don’t want to spend another summer with long hair sticking to my back and neck every time we go out. Gross but true.
I hope you have some lovely things planned for this month too, let me know in the comments what you’re planning to get up to! 😃
Lots of love,
englishgirlinchinaXO

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