Black and Abroad: Chaniece

I am so excited to share this interview with you all! Please enjoy getting to know my friend Chaniece and learning a little about her experience being “BLACK AND ABROAD.”


Let’s do a quick introduction:
1. What’s your name, where are you from, and how long have you been in China?
My name is Chaniece, I come from North Carolina and I have been in China for 5 non-conseuctive years.
2. Are you single, married, have any children? 
I am currently dating, never been married and no children.
3. What brought you to Asia- more specifically China?
I came to China because I majored in Chinese in college. After studying abroad in Beijing my junior year of college, I decided I definitely wanted to come back after graduation.
4. How long have you been here? 
I have been in Shanghai for about 4 years.
Now we have a little background information about you lets dig a little deeper!
Breaking and Crushing:
1. In your opinion – what do you think are some of the biggest stereotypes we (generally speaking – though I know you don’t speak for everyone) face as people of color living abroad – here in China?
I guess the biggest are us being loud and aggressive, strong, athletic, and cool,
2. What are some of the biggest challenges you have faced living here?
My biggest challenge when I first got here was language, even though I could speak it I wasn’t fluent as I am now and sometimes it could be frustrating if there was a miscommunication. Also, the dating scene is another big headache, but that’s another story.
3. How do you think we are crushing stereotypes- if we are at all?
Honestly, I don’t feel there is anything wrong with “fitting a stereotype”, we are all people at the end of the day. Will some of us be loud and aggressive? Of course. Will some of us be quiet and meek? Certainly. I think it’s more about us being seen as humans, there are different types of us and we all don’t fit into one mold. The more we interact with Chinese people, all of us, the more we will be seen as the three-dimensional people that we are.
4. Knowing what you know now- about life in China and being here as long as you have been here, would you still have moved here knowing what you know now?
I would have moved here sooner and done things differently! There is so much opportunity here and I wish I had properly recorded everything from the beginning! Though, there is still so much more to learn.
#LIC – Let’s talk a little about Life in China! There are definitely some positives about being here.
1. What are three things you like about living in China (if you can think of three).
Job opportunities. I wish I could say this one for all three because it’s huge. I like the food here and I like the community.
2. What do you do for fun with your free time?
I used to cycle a lot, now I spend a lot of time cooking, developing recipes, trying to plan events and sleeping. Haha.
3. Has it been hard for you to meet people and make friends here?
I think the first year I moved to Shanghai I had a hard time making friends, I was very limited to my working environment and I hadn’t mastered WeChat or WeChat groups. People who do that early on have it easy! Since WeChat I have had no problem at all making friends.
4. What do you do for work here in China?
I do social media at a blockchain and AI tech company..
Food- Food makes the world go round!
1. How has your food journey been here? Has it been a hard transition from home to here?
It’s been easy, and I have learned a new style of cuisine on the way. Though in some places there is just way too much oil, that is something I don’t think anyone can adjust to. I tend to make my favorite recipes at home and either add a small amount of oil or leave it out all together, but Chinese cuisine varies so much, especially from region to region so I find I am always discovering a new dish that I want to learn how to make.
2. Have you tried anything here that you love that you don’t have at home?
Maybe the Chinese pancakes on the street, I always crave those when I am back in the US.
3. Have you tried anything here that you absolutely hate and hope to never eat again?
Stinky tofu, but this is a hard one because people keep telling me it’s so good so I am always willing to try it and then I think it’s absolutely repulsive and never want to eat it again. I think it’s my addiction to fried tofu that makes me like it so much.
4. How is shopping for food here for you? Do you spend a lot buying food or eating out?
used to eat out all the time or at least do take out because take out is SO cheap, but it does add up. Recently I have been cooking all of my meals. Most of my money goes to food, but I’m not a big spender in the first place.
Access to travel – A lot of people move abroad because of the access to travel to other countries. Let’s talk about this!
1. China is huge!!! Have you been to any places in China? Are there any places in China you would like to visit?
I have been to Beijing, Urumqi, Guilin and Sanya and all the small cities around Shanghai like Ningbo, Hangzhou, Suzhou and Nanjing. I would like to visit Yunnan province! I pretty much want to go anywhere south.
2. Have you visited any nearby countries since you have been here? Where did you go?
Nah I haven’t, unfortunately.
3. What cities/countries are on your list ???
I still want to go to Taiwan, Thailand, annnnd that’s about it, haha. My list is not very long. There is so much to see in China I am comfortable mostly traveling around here; it’s cheap too.
 
One Last thing-

If you could share one thing with everyone about life what would it be.

Don’t burn any bridges, but don’t let people take advantage of you either.

Thanks so much for joining me on my blog! Many blessings.

CHANIECE: I love black people rappin’ about produce, what can I say— Look what SHE is jammin to!!!!

 

 


I am excited about life! I am filled with Hope. I am overwhelmed with JOY!

I am going to do my best to live by the ‘Glad Texts’ 

(one of my favorites is–Psalms 98:4-Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth,
burst into jubilant song with music) — Did you know that there are over 800 Glad Texts in the Bible?!?! More than one for each day of the year for me to live by.

#FearlessinShanghai #Thankful #joychangeslives #KMarieTakesChina #BlackGirlMagic #KarlaGirlLivingLife #BlackGirlJoy #LivingMyLifeLikeItsGolden #ChinaorBust #ChinaAintReady #BlackInShanghai #LookOutWorldHereComesKarla  #KarlaGirlJoy #BlackGirlInShanghai #eatsleeppartyrepeat #givingisgood #givingisfun #WakandaForever #ShuriAndNakiaAndOkoye #MelaninMagic #Blessed #FaithfulIsMyGod

“life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all”  – Hellen Keller

*I choose ADVENTURE*

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World Book Day

April 23, 2018 – – World Book Day (WBD): https://www.worldbookday.com/

I was so excited when Althea told me that today is WBD!!! I absolutely LOVE READING. She downloaded a few free e-books and I joined in the fun! I was able to download a few books and get a deal on some other books on sale.

If you have an e-reader you might just be in luck … and check out the site above if you have time.

Happy Reading!!!!

….how it showed up in my Kindle Book Store … its a selection of books …. so you may see something interesting that you’ve never read or heard of ….

“READING IS DREAMING WITH OUR EYES OPEN” 


I am excited about life! I am filled with Hope. I am overwhelmed with JOY!

I am going to do my best to live by the ‘Glad Texts’ 

(one of my favorites is–Psalms 98:4-Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth,
    burst into jubilant song with music) — Did you know that there are over 800 Glad Texts in the Bible?!?! More than one for each day of the year for me to live by.

#FearlessinShanghai #Thankful #joychangeslives #KMarieTakesChina #BlackGirlMagic #KarlaGirlLivingLife #BlackGirlJoy #LivingMyLifeLikeItsGolden #ChinaorBust #ChinaAintReady #BlackInShanghai #LookOutWorldHereComesKarla  #KarlaGirlJoy #BlackGirlInShanghai #eatsleeppartyrepeat #givingisgood #givingisfun #WakandaForever #ShuriAndNakiaAndOkoye #MelaninMagic #Blessed #FaithfulIsMyGod

“life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all”  – Hellen Keller

*I choose ADVENTURE*

Q1 – Done

-short post-

In my January 5th post I set and shared my goals for the year. Now that we are into Q2 of 2018 lets check in and see how I’m doing … Id love to know how you’re doing with your goals too!!!

Do you all set resolutions for the new year? I set a few goals for each year. I was quite ambitious with my list last year so here is my 2018 plan:

  1. Because of my work schedule it is hard to sign up athletic events like 5K/10K/Stair Climb type events I would do at home. I want to do 1 event this year. If I can work that in my schedule that would be great. – I am still hoping to be able to do this … I haven’t found one that works with my schedule but I may just map a 5K route and see if I can get some friends to do it with me on a Wednesday before it gets too hot. I hear it gets very hot here in SH! 

(oh – Christmas week I did Jingle Bell Run 5K with coworkers- it was cold – I don’t like being cold)

  1. Read 2 books for pleasure- I have started one book. I am enjoying it so far. 
  2. Visit 4 new countries – I have my list ready so I can’t wait to share with you all as it happens about my adventures abroad.- I have been to Bangkok Thailand, Seoul, South Korea, and Hong Kong soon …. 
  3. Pay down some US Debt – lets see how that goes!- YES! I am so glad that this is happening. 
  4. Play in a waterfall – I didn’t get to do this last year and I’m still mad about it!!! – so clearly some things carry over from 2017 and that’s okay- I think I may achieve this in October. We have holiday in October and I am thinking really hard about where to go! Waterfall must be included. 
  5. BE!!! Just BE. Enjoy each day as it comes. Live. Love. Laugh. Smile. Live a life rooted and established in JOY! #EverdayJOY- Yep! I wouldn’t want to live any other way. Life has enough challenges we all know that for sure. May as well smile as much as you can.

 

I have learned to set realistic goals. Goals that are attainable and that I can actually meet. I am still working hard on these goals – these six goals/things I want to do can totally happen as long as I am focused and consistent.

Have a great week everyone! …Happy Q2 – Happy Spring ….


here are a few recent pics ……

DisneyLand Hong Kong 2018
DisneyLand Hong Kong – April 2018
DisneyLand Hong Kong – April 2018

 

I am going to do my best to live by the ‘Glad Texts’ 

(one of my favorites is–Psalms 98:4-Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth, burst into jubilant song with music) — Did you know that there are over 800 Glad Texts in the Bible?!?! More than one for each day of the year for me to live by.

#FearlessinShanghai #Thankful #joychangeslives #KMarieTakesChina #BlackGirlMagic #KarlaGirlLivingLife #BlackGirlJoy #LivingMyLifeLikeItsGolden #ChinaorBust #ChinaAintReady #BlackInShanghai #LookOutWorldHereComesKarla  #KarlaGirlJoy #BlackGirlInShanghai #eatsleeppartyrepeat #givingisgood #givingisfun #WakandaForever #ShuriAndNakiaAndOkoye #MelaninMagic #Blessed #FaithfulIsMyGod

“life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all”  – Hellen Keller

*I choose ADVENTURE*

Black and Abroad: Christen

I am so excited to share this interview with you all! Please enjoy getting to know my friend Christen and learning a little about her experience being “BLACK AND ABROAD.”


Let’s do a quick introduction:
1. What’s your name, where are you from, and how long have you been in China?
My name is Christen Weathersby, born and raised in Chicago, IL, and I’ve been in China a little over 5 months. 
2. Are you single, married, have any children? 
I am single with no children.
3. What brought you to Asia- more specifically China?
I came to China to be able to travel more frequently. Intially I wanted to go to South Korea, but China was hiring year round. 
4. How long have you been here? 
A little over 5 months.
Christen W. 
 
Now we have a little background information about you lets dig a little deeper!
Breaking and Crushing:
1. In your opinion – what do you think are some of the biggest stereotypes we (generally speaking though I know you don’t speak for everyone) face as people of color living abroad – here in China?
Honestly, I’m not sure. I haven’t had to deal with any stereotypes.
2. What are some of the biggest challenges you have faced living here?
Having to walk EVERYWHERE has definitely been an adjustment. I’m used to getting in my car to run a quick errand. 
3. How do you think we are crushing stereotypes- if we are at all?
Ummmmm…. Lol 
4. Knowing what you know now- about life in China and being here as long as you have been here, would you still have moved here knowing what you know now?
Yes! I would’ve packed differently though. And I would have taken my time finding a better apartment. 
#LIC – Let’s talk a little about Life in China! There are definitely some positives about being here.
1. What are three things you like about living in China (if you can think of three).
I like having the ability to travel so cheaply and how close other countries are. I like how inexpensive the cost of living is here. I like that even though I am over 7,000 miles away from home, I still feel like I’m home. I often forget I’m in China. Lol
2. What do you do for fun with your free time?
I love crafting and making new things. I enjoy boxing. I love shopping. I love salsa dancing.
3. Has it been hard for you to meet people and make friends here?
Well, I’m an introvert and can come off as “stand offish”. I’m fine with that. It helps to weed out the people that don’t need to be in my life anyway. Lol But to answer the question, I think I’ve made friends quite easily. It’s very easy to meet people here, especially black people.
4. What do you do for work here in China?
I’m an ESL teacher.
Food- Food makes the world go round!
1. How has your food journey been here? Has it been a hard transition from home to here?
It has definitely been a struggle. I don’t eat beef or pork, and I haven’t in over a decade. All the local restaurants prepare food with either beef or pork so it’s hard to try new things. I mostly cook at home so when I do want to eat out, I stick with western restaurants. 
2. Have you tried anything here that you love that you don’t have at home?
No
3. Have you tried anything here that you absolutely hate and hope to never eat again?
I’m not really an adventurous eater, so no.
4. How is shopping for food here for you? Do you spend a lot buying food or eating out?
Some of the fruits and vegetables are different here. It’s hard that a lot of the seasonings I like aren’t available. The cost of imported goods is extremely high sometimes. It’s definitely an adjustment. 
Access to travel – A lot of people move abroad because of the access to travel to other countries. Let’s talk about this!
1. China is huge!!! Have you been to any places in China? Are there any places in China you would like to visit?
I recently visited Hong Kong and that was awesome! I visited HK Disneyland and the Tian Tian Buddha. I also had my first time riding a cable car. There’s so much more to see. I’m sure I’ll visit again. I would like to visit Beijing to see the Great Wall, Chengdu to visit a friend and see the pandas, and Sanya for a beautiful beach getaway. 
2. Have you visited any nearby countries since you have been here? Where did you go?
Since being in China I have visited Tokyo, Japan, Bangkok, Thailand, and Siem Reap, Cambodia.
3. What cities/countries are on your list ???
I want to see the world!
 
One Last thing-
If you could share one thing with everyone about life what would it be.
Just do it. Do whatever it is you want to do. Don’t let fear, family, or foe stop you. 
 
Thanks so much for joining me on my blog! Many blessings.

Christen is a BIG Musiq Soulchild fan! She is currently jamming to this. Enjoy.

I am going to do my best to live by the ‘Glad Texts’ 

(one of my favorites is–Psalms 98:4-Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth,
    burst into jubilant song with music) — Did you know that there are over 800 Glad Texts in the Bible?!?! More than one for each day of the year for me to live by.

#FearlessinShanghai #Thankful #joychangeslives #KMarieTakesChina #BlackGirlMagic #KarlaGirlLivingLife #BlackGirlJoy #LivingMyLifeLikeItsGolden #ChinaorBust #ChinaAintReady #BlackInShanghai #LookOutWorldHereComesKarla  #KarlaGirlJoy #BlackGirlInShanghai #eatsleeppartyrepeat #givingisgood #givingisfun #WakandaForever #ShuriAndNakiaAndOkoye #MelaninMagic #Blessed #FaithfulIsMyGod

“life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all”  – Hellen Keller

*I choose ADVENTURE*

Black and Abroad: Renea

I am so excited to share this interview with you all! Please enjoy getting to know my friend Renea and learning a little about her experience being “BLACK AND ABROAD.”


kg: Renea –– Thanks so much for joining me on my blog. More importantly, thanks for sharing with us about your experience in China.

(orange is kg and black/bold is renea)

A: Let’s do a quick introduction:

  1. What’s your name, where are you from, and how long have you been in China?

My name is Renea. I’m from Mississippi, USA, and I have been in China almost 9 months now.

  1. Are you single, married, have any children?

I am married, but we do not have any children yet. We just came up on our first anniversary this past February.

-congratulations on your anniversary!!! how awesome for you two-

  1. What brought you to Asia- more specifically China?

To be honest, I had no plans of coming to China. It has always been my older sister’s dream but not mine. I was more interested to be in South America, but I struggled to find work. I applied and applied, and no one ever got back to me. Then China happened.

  1. How long have you been here?

I’ve been here for almost 9 months. I can’t believe it.

 

Now we have a little background information about you lets dig a little deeper! You actually inspired this “Black and Abroad” series for my blog. We were chatting on WeChat – because that’s #LIC (Life in China) and you said “We’re traveling and breaking barriers and crushing stereotypes” – and with all the challenges of life abroad that statement really resonated with me.

B: Breaking and Crushing:

  1. In your opinion – what do you think are some of the biggest stereotypes we (generally speaking – though I know you don’t speak for everyone) face as people of color living abroad – here in China?

First off, I’m so happy little ol’ me could inspire a series for your blog! I would say that the biggest stereotype I’ve faced thus far is everyone thinking I’m from an African country because I’m a melanin queen. Then the other stereotypes follow. I can’t possibly be educated well because, ya know, we come from apes and all that… No one has ever said that to me, but I’ve gotten that vibe during an interview before.

  1. What are some of the biggest challenges you have faced living here? 

Renea: Perhaps, the biggest challenges have been navigating without Chinese language knowledge, transportation, and the constant change of laws (or people making stuff up when it’s convenient). I have been in some situations where knowing Chinese would have really served me well, and I became so frustrated and felt so defeated. 

I can understand that for sure. I think the only think I can say well is “ice water” and “stop” (for when I am in a taxi). 

In regards to transportation, it’s more efficient than anything we have in Mississippi. We all drive there. If you don’t have a car, you are screwed. Nonetheless, commuting is exhausting because of the all the people here. I work in Zengcheng, a very distant district on the outskirts of the city. I dislike it very much, so I travel back and forth to Foshan, which is a neighboring city to Guangzhou. The commute takes roughly 3 hours.

anything else? 

It seems like laws aren’t consistent. If you go ask someone about the legal requirements to get a Z-visa, they’ll tell you one thing while another person will tell you something totally different. What makes it worse is that the confusing answers will come from locals who are supposed to be versed in this. I needed to take a bullet train from Guangzhou to Foshan to pick up some dessert orders. My passport was being held by the PSB to process my new visa, so I used a copy to get around. I always successfully used a copy with no issues to get a train ticket. On this particular night, this wasn’t allowed. I showed them a picture of the receipt (job had original). It wasn’t accepted either although it had been accepted previously. Goodness gracious.

  1. How do you think we are crushing stereotypes?

If students are familiar with black people at all, it’s through black face characters on local television networks or through a few Hollywood films. We are portrayed as dumb or criminals. As a result of us coming here and teaching, they’re learning that we’re educated, business-minded, and no one to fear. We’re teaching them how to approach diversity and different ways of thinking. We’re crushing ALL the stereotypes: one student and one interaction at a time.

  1. Knowing what you know now- about life in China and being here as long as you have been here, would you still have moved here knowing what you know now. 

 I’m not sure. I’ve been struggling lately with always being reminded of my skin color in almost every interaction. Sometimes it’s disheartening, and I have to think about the ‘why’ behind it all. Why do they view me the way they do? I guess you could say that I would still come because I’ve learned that I am resilient, adaptable, and more optimistic and adventurous than I’ve ever been.

C: #LIC – Let’s talk a little about Life in China! There are definitely some positives about being here.

  1. What are three things you like about living in China (if you can think of three).  A. I like the safety. There is crime, and there is violence like any other place, but it’s nothing like what occurs in the United States, and I really love that.        B. I like the food! It’s so fresh and so vibrant. They’ve introduced me to seafood here.                                                                                                                                              C. Despite the ignorance (literally ignorance, not meant in any derogatory manner), the people are usually very nice and friendly, so I love that.

2. What do you do for fun with your free time?

I love discovering new alleyways and places with lots of green.

3. Has it been hard for you to meet people and make friends here?

Not at all. I think being different makes it easier to make connections because everyone wants to know more about you.

4. What do you do for work here in China?

I am a teacher. I’m also breaking into business here. I bake on the weekends, and I am also getting into the hair business (hoping my approach will help it stand out).

*i’m looking forward to ordering some goodies from you soon*

D: Food- Food makes the world go round!

  1. How has your food journey been here? Has it been a hard transition from home to here?

It’s been great (aside for a few instances of food poisoning). The Chinese food here is fresh and less fried. I especially enjoy the Muslim-owned noodle restaurants.

  1. Have you tried anything here that you love that you don’t have at home?

I’ve never seen ‘tangyuan’ back home. It’s these balls made from rice flour, and they’re filled with a sweet peanut paste and served in a soup of just boiling water. They serve them during the Spring Festival. I LOVE them! They also have these gummy balls that are filled fruit puree, red bean paste, and so on. I don’t know the name of those, but I love those as well.

  1. Have you tried anything here that you absolutely hate and hope to never eat again?

I HATE the black jello. It tastes like tar, and I have no idea what it’s made from.

  1. How is shopping for food here for you? Do you spend a lot buying food or eating out?

Once I discovered TaoBao and foreign food stores like Sharefoods and Corner’s Deli, shopping for familiar items is so easy. I only shop for foreign food items for my baking or when I’m craving something…like Tostitos and salsa.

E: Access to travel – A lot of people move abroad because of the access to travel to other countries. Let’s talk about this!

  1. China is huge!!! Have you been to any places in China? Are there any places in China you would like to visit?

So far, I’ve been to Chengdu, which was SO special, but I haven’t traveled as much as I would like. I would like to go to Sanya, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Macau, Xi’an, Chongqing, and Zhuhai. I’m not so interested in Beijing simply because one of my friends is there, and she’s been getting sick a lot from the air.

  1. Have you visited any nearby countries since you have been here? Where did you go?

I’m so boring when it comes to this because I’ve been working so much. I haven’t traveled outside since I’ve been here, unfortunately. People back home swear we’re just on vacation. They have no idea.

  1. What cities/countries are on your list ???

I’m so glad you asked! This is a bit of my list:

Bali, Indonesia

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Ajman, United Arab Emirates

Kyoto, Japan

Seoul, South Korea

Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Chefchaouen, Morocco

Aswan, Egypt

Kotor, Montenegro

Valparaiso, Chile

Zanzibar, Tanzania

These are just a few, and some are happening this summer, Lord willing. So excited!

*please take me with you to Tanzania*

F: Wrapping It up 

If you could share one thing with everyone about life what would it be.

I would say that life is all about living to become your best self. That’s what we should all be striving for, so don’t allow anyone to make you feel that you should settle for anything less than greatness. Travel, read, write, discover. You’ll love yourself for it.

 

This was great… I am so glad we were able to do this and that you were open to sharing about your time in China. Thanks again for joining me on my blog! 

You’re so welcome. Thank you so much for choosing me! By the way, one of my favorite songs to jam to right now is Jhene Aiko-While We’re Young.

Currently Renea is jammin to- Jhene Aiko! Check it out below. 

 

I am excited about life! I am filled with Hope. I am overwhelmed with JOY!

I am going to do my best to live by the ‘Glad Texts’ 

(one of my favorites is–Psalms 98:4-Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth,
    burst into jubilant song with music) — Did you know that there are over 800 Glad Texts in the Bible?!?! More than one for each day of the year for me to live by.

#FearlessinShanghai #Thankful #joychangeslives #KMarieTakesChina #BlackGirlMagic #KarlaGirlLivingLife #BlackGirlJoy #LivingMyLifeLikeItsGolden #ChinaorBust #ChinaAintReady #BlackInShanghai #LookOutWorldHereComesKarla  #KarlaGirlJoy #BlackGirlInShanghai #eatsleeppartyrepeat #givingisgood #givingisfun #WakandaForever #ShuriAndNakiaAndOkoye #MelaninMagic #Blessed #FaithfulIsMyGod

“life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all”  – Hellen Keller

*I choose ADVENTURE*

5 months!!!

*long-ish post*

WOW!!!! Closing another month in Shanghai. March 31, 2018 (so clearly I’m behind posting this) brings me to my fifth month in China and April 1 will be the first day of my sixth month! Half a year in Asia. It has definitely had its fair share of challenges. A lot of good days, a lot of laughs, smiles, and some tough days in between all of that. I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything at all. I am looking forward to coming home when my contract ends.

If I didn’t take so many pictures I would probably forget much of what I have done. Here is a recap of KMG’s March and what to look forward to with me in April!

 

TWG – Afternoon Tea

I have always wanted to have afternoon tea! Seems super nice, relaxing, and cultural. One of my friends said, “it sounds like you’re eating a little bit of food for a lot of money” – that’s kind of true but my small portions were yummy and my cherry blossom tea was so good! I am so glad I went and had tea – and I went SOLO. Living abroad has pushed to do more things on my own and it hasn’t been so bad even though enjoying activities with friends and family will always be at the top of my list. But, if experiencing something new or traveling to a new place means doing it SOLO – I am not against it!

TWG – Afternoon Tea

Celebrations- Christens birthday

Christen has been a great part of my life since my time in Shanghai. Totally my #ShanghaiBestie. Starting over can be tough- and starting over in a new country can be really tough. Meeting Christen definitely helped my starting over experience in Asia. We are coworkers, neighbors, and #passportbuddies.

We partied all night to celebrate her birthday. Salsa dancing and friends. Shanghai definitely knows how to party!

Celebrating Life! Happy Birthday Christen

 

John Legend

If I am honest – I am the biggest John Legend fan but since he was here in China my friends and I went to the show. #TinyWonder as my girl Jasmine puts it – puts on a great show. His show was amazing! We really enjoyed ourselves and Shanghai showed up for J.Legend. It was nice to have this little piece of home here in China.

After John Legend Concert

Black Panther Premiere

Yall know I been HYPE about BLACK PANTHER — #WakandaForever since the very first preview. One of the first things Althea said to me when I said I was moving to China was “You’re gonna miss Black Panther with us.” That made me all kinds of sad. But, I still went to China. Then I arrived here and was unsure if it would be released here. Finally! Found out that it would be released but not until almost a month after it was released everywhere else. That broke me! I wanted to see this movie opening weekend.

I went to Thailand for my birthday in February and had big plans and a tight few days there. I saw a billboard for Black Panther and everything stopped. I had to see it! I was able to see Black Panther opening weekend in Thailand and opening weekend in China. Yall know I love that I was a part of two global opening weekends for the movie. That’s pretty cool. I absolutely loved the movie – as you know from a previous post.

We had a big premiere here. A friend here- Kristen – is an event planner and she planned a full night of fun and we transformed the W. Hotel and the neighboring IMAX theater into Wakanda. There was red carpet, photos, backdrops, African dancers, everyone dressed up in their best Wakanda outfits and we bought 3 rooms in the theater and each one sold out. It was such a great night and lots of fun to see everyone come out and support the movie.

I am looking forward to seeing it again soon.

Black Panther Premiere in Shanghai, China

 

Disneyland – of course!

…because …. Why not???

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Toy Story Land is opening April 2018

 

SH World Financial Center (http://www.swfc-shanghai.com/)

#SHWFC is on my list of top 10 things to do in Shanghai. IT was nice. I went to visit it on my weekend. The Shanghai World Financial Center is a supertall skyscraper located in the Pudong district of Shanghai, China. I bought tickets for the tour- enjoyed some history of Shanghai – watched a short film- and went to the 100th floor to see wonderful areal views of the city. I can check this off of my list. There is another place in Shanghai where you get similar views – I feel like if you’ve seen one you’ve seen them all but here is information on the other one if you’re ever in China!

Oriental Pearl Tower http://www.orientalpearltower.com/

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I can cross this off my Shanghai bucket list

 

Bowling with the homies

Would you believe there are lots of Black people in Shanghai??? Welp! There really are. It has been really nice building a community while here. A bunch of us planned a night out to go bowling. We had a blast!

So Fun! 

 

Pearl Art Museum

I have been using my weekends to explore Shanghai and all that it has to offer. I checked out this new museum with some friends two weeks ago and we explored the neighborhood that we were in. We even stumbled on a small pizza shop owned by a guy who is from Southern California – he’s a USC Trojan. Crazy Small World. I’m always thankful for these moments!

 

New Museum in Shanghai
My girls- Karla-Courtney-Chantel

 

Cooking with Ruby

This is Ruby! She is my Learning Partner (LP) or Co-Teacher as we would probably say at home in America. She has been simply wonderful. She is teaching me Chinese – which I need to use more and we work great together in the classroom. She came over to my place a couple weeks ago and we cooked a traditional Chinese meal. I asked Ruby if we could cook together since she told me she really loves cooking and she was super happy to cook with me.

Dumplings. Vegetables (eggplant and green beans). Ribs (those of you who knew me know I was happy about this) in Chinese sauce and spices. IT was all so good.

I am really thankful for Ruby… I have heard some people talk about their experience with their LP’s and it not being so great and the fact that my experience has been TOP … I don’t take that for granted. Ruby and I plan on hanging out more so I will be sure to share about our experiences with you.

 

Ruby and Karla! FT/LP at Disney English

 

……I wanted to show with this post that Shanghai has so much to offer. Shanghai’s populations is about 24 million people and his China’s largest and most populous city. This city is full of dining (from all over the world), museums, arts, sports, nightlife, fitness, shopping, travel- almost anything you want is here. To live overseas – kinda cool!!!

Every day has not been perfect for me. TO BE COMPLETELY HONEST – March was full of some very challenging days. I signed myself up for this experience so I am doing my best to be as positive as I can and learn from everything that is presented to me.  It’s amazing to me how two people can be presented with the same exact experience and experience it differently. When I talk to some of my friends here it’s crazy to hear about their time here and I compare it to my time and it’s like night and day. My life as a Black foreigner has had its moments here. Definitely…… but….then there-is-this

“Everyday- Aint- Gone- Be- Perfect- But- That- Still- Doesn’t- Mean- Today- Doesn’t- Have- Purpose” – – I try and remember this!

 

We are over a week into April. My 6th month here. The interviews are coming soon with my friends and their experiences here. I am so excited to share it with you all. Sorry its not ready yet, but I do hope that you enjoy it once posted.


 

I am excited about life! I am filled with Hope. I am overwhelmed with JOY!

I am going to do my best to live by the ‘Glad Texts’ 

(one of my favorites is–Psalms 98:4-Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth,
    burst into jubilant song with music) — Did you know that there are over 800 Glad Texts in the Bible?!?! More than one for each day of the year for me to live by.

#FearlessinShanghai #Thankful #joychangeslives #KMarieTakesChina #BlackGirlMagic #KarlaGirlLivingLife #BlackGirlJoy #LivingMyLifeLikeItsGolden #ChinaorBust #ChinaAintReady #BlackInShanghai #LookOutWorldHereComesKarla  #KarlaGirlJoy #BlackGirlInShanghai #eatsleeppartyrepeat #givingisgood #givingisfun #WakandaForever #ShuriAndNakiaAndOkoye #MelaninMagic #Blessed #FaithfulIsMyGod

“life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all”  – Hellen Keller

*I choose ADVENTURE*

 

 

 

Teaching With Disney English

Changing The World …. Teaching English in Shanghai ….

Adventures of an English Teacher in China

It took a whole lot of faith and bravery for me to come to China. Disney got a gem with me being here. I don’t say that boastfully. I know who I am and whose I am – and this experience is not to be taken for granted. Every single day is different here. No two days have been just alike and some days have obviously been harder than others. I believe that I am here for reason and purpose. Even if that reason and purpose is for me to be uncomfortable for +/- 14 months so that a positive example and experience of and with a brown skinned individual is given to some here in Shanghai. This is a BIG CITY! There are lot of people here. I won’t meet them all- that’s for sure. The ones that I do meet, I want them to leave having a dash of my #BlackGirlMagic and #KarlaGirlJoy – leaving t knowing – we are amazing, educated, and kind. I want to change the perspective that some (I know it’s not all) may have of Black Americans. If I can do it, with just one, it is worth it.


I realized that I haven’t talked about work in a while so here is a brief update on work.

I am teaching English in Shanghai, China for Disney. I work for The Walt Disney Company – and a branch of that is Disney English (DE). Disney English focuses on English language training for young learners ages 2-12.

My position is titled Foreign Trainer (FT) – because – clearly- I am a foreigner teaching English in China. Learners (or students) call FT’s by their first name or at times may just say “teacher”. I have eight classes. Scholars 1, Scholars 2, Scholars 3, and an Advanced Scholars 3B class. I teach a little of everything! I work weekends, Saturdays and Sundays and my off days are Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

*If you are interested in information about each of the classes (S1/S2/S3/ADS3B) I can send to you. Didn’t want to make this post super long*

Mondays and Fridays, we have academic team meetings that usually last about an hour. 1:30-2:30. You have time to prepare for your classes and classes begin at 4:15 depending on your class schedule. Every FT has a different schedule depending on the classes they are teaching. A work day usually ends between 8:00 and 9:00 PM depending on how many classes you have on a particular day. Weekends are a little different than weekday courses. DE can see more leaners on the weekend because they are not in school – classes run from early morning to the end of the day. You will work one ‘short’ day and one ‘long’ day. A short day is an 8- hour day at work and your long day is a 12-hour day where you have a long break in your day. Your long break will include time for your lunch and time to prep for classes. Weekends are long and exhausting. Crazy to me that I work on weekends and that my off days are during the week…. but such is life for the next 8 months or so!

Teaching a language, and teaching a language at a training center, is unlike anything I have ever done. Obviously 😊 right?!?! I have always lived in America where my students knew the same language as me. I wasn’t teaching a language so much so – as I was teaching students how to understand and comprehend the language that they have been taught to use. Work is exhausting. It takes everything out of me. Yes! Yes! Yes! I know most of our jobs are exhausting and take it out of us. When I arrive home from work I just wanna do – NADA! Ya know?!?! We use so much of ourselves to teach our lessons to make them interesting, creative, and interactive. We want our learners to enjoy their lessons while learning what can be a very difficult language. We use TPR in our lessons, which is a language method that is based on coordinating language and physical movements. Teachers will give commands to their students while using the target language with body movements and the students will respond with whole body actions. If the students are responding with whole body actions then that means their teacher is teaching them with whole body actions. It- Takes – IT – Out – Of – ME !!!!

To be honest, the kids love it. It can just be very tiring. A lot of people have asked me is it hard teaching here. I don’t think it’s hard so much as it’s different. It is unlike anything I have ever done in my life. It took a whole lot of faith, being brave, and mustering all of my #KMGBLACKGIRLMAGIC to leave everything I know and enter a foreign land. Every training center is different, every school is different, every program is different. Opportunities are here in Asia and many other countries. I figured, why not go for it!?!

If you’re thinking about it, do some research and take the leap!

Work is …. Well …. Work. My students are learning English – that’s for sure. I Hope they are enjoying their time with me!


My faith got me here. I am teaching here for a reason and purpose. Do you know how big a mustard seed is? Not big at all. I remember the first time I saw one. I was young. Maybe 11 or 12 at a youth service in Sacramento, California. It was very small. The pastor who was speaking had it in the palm of his hand and I could barely see it. The size of it and these words changed my life…

And Jesus said unto them, “…if ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, ‘Remove hence to yonder place,’ and it shall remove. And nothing shall be impossible unto you. Matthew 17:20

I really believe that my mustard seed faith can move mountains.

That I, Karla Gurley, daughter of Fred and Marilyn Gurley, sister to Shilah, LaLonnie, Natina, Shari, Alexandria, and Katherine- can change the world.

I get to change the world through education, teaching, relationships, sharing my experiences, loving others, showing kindness, giving a smile, and being ME.

Went to Disneyland yesterday!!!!

 

…someone told me today that no one had ever shown them as much kindness as I had in that moment. It made me smile – and I can only hope that we can all show others kindness. It’s in the little moments that life happens. I didn’t think that what I did was even much – but – a mustard seed also isn’t much – and it changes everything! You never know the impact you can have on someone else. 

May you smile today  and extend kindness to someone!!!!

@Disneyland waiting to get on SOARING OVER THE HORIZON

 

Stay tuned for fun things on the blog in April. I will be interviewing a few friends and sharing their experiences on my blog. I hope you enjoy.

April 2018: “Black and Abroad-Shanghai”

May 2018:   ????? Stay tuned and keep following!

I am excited about life! I am filled with Hope. I am overwhelmed with JOY!

I am going to do my best to live by the ‘Glad Texts’ 

(one of my favorites is–Psalms 98:4-Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth,
    burst into jubilant song with music) — Did you know that there are over 800 Glad Texts in the Bible?!?! More than one for each day of the year for me to live by.

#FearlessinShanghai #Thankful #joychangeslives #KMarieTakesChina #BlackGirlMagic #KarlaGirlLivingLife #BlackGirlJoy #LivingMyLifeLikeItsGolden #ChinaorBust #ChinaAintReady #BlackInShanghai #LookOutWorldHereComesKarla  #KarlaGirlJoy #BlackGirlInShanghai #eatsleeppartyrepeat #givingisgood #givingisfun #WakandaForever #ShuriAndNakiaAndOkoye #MelaninMagic #Blessed #FaithfulIsMyGod

“life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all”  – Hellen Keller

*I choose ADVENTURE*