About: Life after China.

During 2008; when most of the country was whipped into an excited Olympics frenzy, I lived and taught in Wuxi, China. Living just beyond the city limits in Xishan district – or perhaps Dongting; like many things in China, nothing was certain, I experienced a level of local Chinese life that I wouldn’t have imagined possible. If you had told me ten years ago that my partner Courtney and I would be the only two westerners living in a suburb in China, I would have laughed at you.

Day to day life was exciting and often difficult. The random hilarities we experienced on a daily basis became an addiction. From dodging ninja silent scooters on sidewalks and exploring the hidden food streets to standing before 55 kids and trying to keep them entertained. Living in China changed me as a person.

Many years later, I still maintain a solid link to this amazing country. I currently live in the Melbourne suburb of Box Hill, which I dare say has a larger Chinese population than Australians. In some ways the town in itself is like a small chunk of China, complete with its own Xinhua bookstore! I also actively study Mandarin, and with some five years of casual study under my belt, still feel like I’ve only just breached the surface.

My first blog, Team Wuxi is Go! detailed the day to day life experiences whilst living in China. Life after China focuses on precisely that – my life after China. This blog is a way for me to maintain my interest and passion in all things China, and a place to release my thoughts and observations.

The only thing I like more than like-minded people finding their way here is when they too leave their own thoughts, comments and observations.  

I hope to see you soon!



12 Responses to “About: Life after China.”

  1. marc rush Says:


    i noticed you used to teach in china. i taught for five years in beijing. i just finished a book about it. http://www.amazon.com/Unsavory-Characters-Eclectic-English-Teachers/dp/1451545037/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1269898117&sr=8-1

    I noticed you said you want to go back. they tried to cheat me out of salary, so i sort of snuck out of the country. if i ever go back, they will probably meet me with leg irons at the airport.

    good luck with your china travails.


  2. Marcus Says:

    Hey, nice one. Nothing like a bit of wage cheating eh? Going back for me would be a bit of a mixed bag – i couldnt do it again on the same type of wage – it’s taken almost a year and a half back home working a normal job just to catch up on the amount of savings we went through while over there. For me, it’d be cool to get a job with an international company, paying me international wages, but living in either Shanghai or Beijing – that would be cool.

  3. paddy665 Says:

    Which Australian town has more Chinese than Australians? I’ve been to areas with more Aboriginal than Caucasians and places with alot of South Africans and Kiwis but never seen or heard of a town with majority Chinese.

    Thanks for the blog by the way, read a couple of posts, found it interesting.
    Im currently studying Chinese in a city in Sichuan so I can totally sympathise with falling in love with China.

  4. Marcus Says:

    Hey hi and thanks for stopping by.

    The town is Box Hill, and it is literally like little China.

    Where are you living in Sichuan, and how long are you studying there for? We went to Chengdu, though it was the height of summer and the weather was disgustingly hot & humid – something SIchuan is well known for – hot food, hot weather.

  5. Austin Guidry Says:

    This blog is really awesome – this is exactly the kind of stuff I think is interesting!! I just got back from 7 months in Lanzhou – a semester of learning Chinese and a month of traveling and it sounds like we had similar experiences as far as being the only foreigners around!

    I’m actually doing sort of the same thing as you – I did a blog while I was there (until my proxy went to hell…), and now I’m doing some catch up and will be doing something very similar to what you’re doing.

    Anyway, thought I’d leave a quick message of encouragement – your blog rocks and don’t stop posting – I’m subscribed!

  6. Marcus Says:

    Hey thanks Austin, really glad you enjoy it – moreso seeing you’ve had a similar experience. Checked out your site too, the videos are great 🙂 That’s something I really wish we did more of – not just scenery but running commentary stuff, to catch the really random things that were so uniquely Chinese!

  7. edebock Says:

    My husband and I are considering spending a few months teaching English in China. I see that you blogged using blogspot while you were there but now you’re with wordpress. Do you happen to know whether or not I’d have any difficulty continuing to post on wordpress while in China? Did you have any difficulty with censorship?

  8. Marcus Says:

    Hi there,

    Firstly, great idea, you wont regret it!

    Secondly, I changed to WordPress for mainly personal reasons. I found the layouts to be a lot more flexible than Blogspot (particularly in regards to embedding images), and WordPress had (and continues to have) comprehensive webstats, which Blogger at the time did not. Blogger may have evolved since then – I haven’t really written on it in years now, but I am really happy with WordPress.

    In regards to the Great Firewall of China – yes, you’re most definitely going to have issues. I know for a fact that WordPress is blocked, and to my knowledge Blogspot is also. While we were there we were lucky, in that Blogspot’s other domain name – blogger.com, was not blocked. Blogspot/Blogger are the same – but blogspot.com was blocked, blogger.com was not. What this allowed us to do was post images without issues. There are definitely ways around the Great Firewall, but it’s annoying. You can use online proxy sites such as http://www.japanweb.info/ which allow you to go past it, but they have issues with certain embedded features like java – which is also what’s used for the little inbuilt scripts in Blogging sites to upload images etc.

    When we were in China, we paid for a VPN subscription through a place called Perfect Privacy (http://www.perfect-privacy.com/). If you’re not computer savvy, this is effectively a tunnel through the firewall. You connect to the internet, then you connect again to this service (and it’s really easy). It costs around $25-30 AUD per month from memory, but it was definitely worth it. When using this VPN link, the Firewall is irrelevant. It tunnels you out through Hong Kong (which is not firewalled) and you can surf as per usual. Other sites that are also blocked most of the time are things like Facebook – but I don’t use that anymore so it doesn’t bother me in the slightest – but I wouldnt be surprised if other social media sites such as Tumblr, Pinterest, etc etc may also be blocked.

    If you have any questions regarding the above, please feel welcome to shoot them to me. If you’re worried about which site to create based on the Firewall – just create one anyway (or continue to use WordPress), as you’re going to find it blocked one way or the other. Perhaps if you know someone in China, you could ask them to try loading Blogger.com for you, just to check if it’s still somehow not blocked.


  9. edebock Says:

    Thank you! This has been very helpful and I may get back to you with further questions in the future.

  10. soi diamond Says:

    I have come residing in Pattaya for 2 months currently.
    It truly is terrific, now have a Asian love and have now just gotten a big new home, everyday life is amazing!

  11. Nommoc Says:


    Just finding your blog now… many things in here I can relate to. Amazing how we expats have such similar things happen to us… i.e. being fundamentally changed, simply by coming to China.

    Since you mentioned you are still keeping up your mandarin studies, I thought all the more it would be relative to reach out.

    My current cause is “expat illiteracy”.

    Not sure if you noticed it when you were in China, but there is a real trend with expats learning how to speak Chinese, but not learning to read/write Chinese. Therefore the term “expat illiteracy”.

    Any who, doing a few things in response: 1) trying to get the word out with the expats on this “illiteracy” situation, 2) supply an app called nommoc, 3) see if we can all get together and through twitter making learning these characters fun…

    The concept is simple for those that want to join, 1) get the app nommoc, 2) write characters daily, 3) tweet about what you write and more importantly where/when you encounter those characters in real life, even attaching a photo to the tweet of the “character in action”… lastly be sure to add #commonchinesecharacters somewhere in the tweet.

    Well, that’s it for now. Best wishes on your current pursuits and thanks again for the posts within your blog. Perhaps we will catch up again.

    The Nommoc Team

  12. Marcus Says:

    Hey thanks for your message. Nommoc sounds interesting actually.

    The reason why i did not bother to learn to read and write characters is mainly due to the complexity of speaking. My goal was to be conversational, but i knew i would not be living there long enough (i think you have to really live in China or a Chinese speaking country to master reading/writing).

    Though that being said, I did explore it. I spent a long time using Skritter and had locked down around 120 different characters before I sort of wore myself out. I also bought a book by Helsig called Remembering the Hanzi, which ties little paragraphs to characters to help you remember them. Funnily enough, Skritter lets you import a huge range of text books into its system and Helsig’s was one of those.

    My mandarin study is very quiet at the moment- on a bit of a hiatus, but i do try and stay up with Mandarin movies/music/tv shows where possible. I like to be exposed to the language. That and i have a range of people i talk to regularly on things like Skype/QQ – and even text chat, using pinyin in a form of Chinglish, really helps keep most of it in the mind.

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