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22 foreigners telling their stories in China
By:Zhao Chunyuan, Fu Yifei  |  From:english.eastday.com  |  2021-08-30 16:59

"We are really good in China and we cherish our current living conditions," Anasi, 36, said at the "Top of Shanghai" reading club at the flagship store of Duoyun Academy on the afternoon of August 29.

Anasi, a Latvian, came to Shanghai at the age of 19 as an exchange student at Fudan University. She originally planned to return to her country after a year in China, but she was "fascinated by the beautiful Shanghai and the rapidly developing China". Therefore, Anasi decided to further her study in law at Fudan University. After successfully completing her bachelor's and master's degrees in law, she stayed in Shanghai to work. At present, she has been the president of a nursing home in Qingpu District for nearly three years.

During the coronavirus period, the nursing home where Anasi worked implemented fully closed management. Family members could not visit and the elderly couldn’t go out. Centralized dining was changed to scattered dining in the rooms. The elderly have no family to visit and many activities have been cancelled. How to enrich their lives under this circumstance? Anasi decided to plant vegetables in the open space of the yard and let all employees participate, which can not only improve the food quality of the nursing home, but also enhance the cohesion of the team. “The old people will see what kind of vegetables we grow and will usually advise us on the food suitable for growing in different seasons. Loofah, tomato, pumpkin and soybeans are all being grown based on the opinions of the elderly and can be brought to the table once they are freshly picked, "said Anasi.

Anasi wrote an article about her study, life and work experience in Shanghai, which was collected in the book "I'm good in China: the fate of 22 foreigners and China" edited by a French woman, Mello. Anasi and Mello, together with the other two authors of the book, the French woman Ellie and the Brazilian man Diego, are the guests of this special book club.

Mello was born in 1988. She studied at the school of Oriental Language and Culture in Paris, France, and graduated with a master's degree in Chinese. In early 2020, due to the impact of COVID-19, she was unable to return to China and began to think about writing some articles. At first, she didn't know what to write, but just wanted to share her love for China. Later, she realized, "I'm definitely not the only foreigner who loves China so much. Isn't it more interesting to find others to share our stories and experiences in this country?" So, she contacted 21 other people from different countries with different experiences to record their stories with China. Among these people, there are her close friends and classmates, as well as strangers she didn't know at first but who contacted each other through the Internet.

"I hope to let more Chinese know foreigners’ lives in China and let more foreigners know the real situation in China," said Mello, adding that she hopes to translate the book into English, French and other languages in the future. "This has become my goal."

"I like Chinese people. One important reason is that Chinese people work really hard," Diego, who has lived in Shanghai for five years, said. "For a foreigner like me, working in China is a challenge, as my interpersonal relationships here started from scratch. But when I know more about China, everything goes better. My experience and life in China are very wonderful, thanks to China and the Chinese who welcome me warmly. "

Ellie, who once studied Chinese at the Yancheng Normal University, said that before coming to China, she saw that the news photos of China in the media all had overcast skies. When she finally came to China, she found that it was completely different, "The sky in the coastal city of Yancheng is so blue and the air is very fresh." Ellie is now working on new media planning in China. She said, "I love Chinese social software, where I can transmit the Chinese songs I’ve sung to the Douyin and share the life of my family in France. Now I have 170,000 fans!" Recently, she began to cover Chinese songs in French because of a special passion for cross-cultural exchange. She hopes she can become a French cultural ambassador in China.

"The 22 foreign friends in the book come from different continents and countries. They are facing cultural conflicts and value challenges in the process of cultural communication. At the same time, they complete cultural adaptation and cultural blending through their own unique experience. The wonderful stories take place in such a transformation," Miao Hongcai, president and editor in chief of the Shanghai Education Press, said. "The narration is sincere and the feelings are real. At the same time, thanks to their different cultural backgrounds, this book is not ‘the words of one person’, but a lively tittle-tattle with various people. Their experiences have brought together the experiences of all walks of life, showing that ‘the days in China’ are very vivid. These stories are condensed into one sentence, ‘I'm fine in China.’"