A Kiwi Couple’s ‘Chinese Dream’

  • Friday, 07 March 2014 00:00
  • Published in Living
  • Read 27788 times
'A place to relax, be comfortable, safe, yeah – Huai'an is our new home! ' 'A place to relax, be comfortable, safe, yeah – Huai'an is our new home! ' Frank Wang


Jonathan Fleet and Julie Smyth are a couple from New Zealand. Last year, they sold their business and family house in New Zealand, applied to teach English in China. Now they have been living and working in Huai’an for nearly 7 months.



Making ‘Chinese dream’ a reality

Jonathan and Julie had been planning and discussing to live in China for at least 5 years. When both of them turned 50 last year, they decided it was time to follow their hearts to make their dream a reality. Jonathan said: “We decided not to wait till we retired from work. At 65, you just won't be able to do it and have the same energy and ambitions as you do when you are 50. And we think, to experience the life in China better we should work and live in China.”

"In this way, living and working in a country, we can meet more people and learn about the life in China for ordinary people. There was no way we were waiting till we retired at 65 and not able to do this," Julie added.

Jonathan and his wife Julie believe that if you have a dream in your mind you need to put it into action earlier to achieve it.

Exploring China

In late August, 2013, the couple arrived in Huai’an. The teaching roster at their school has worked out really well for them. “We work a two-week roster where one week we have a Saturday off and the following week we get Friday/Saturday/Sunday off,” Jonathan explained. “We are quite OK with this as it will give us a chance to head off to various places for a look around on the 3-day weekends.”


"Thanks to the convenient traffic facilities and infrastructure in Huai’an, only 5 hours to Shanghai, 2.5 hours to Nanjing. And by train, you get to Beijing overnight,” Julie said.


In the past year, they have enjoyed the night views in Shanghai, hiked in Mount Huangshan, visited Nanjing to learn about its history and walked on the Great Wall in Beijing. Of course, they didn't miss the local attractions and landmarks in Huai’an. They can even introduce the Big Ball, Canal Square, Bochishan to newcomers, and they know about Zhou Enlai, having visited the Memorial and read about Huaian’s favourite son.



Feeling so at home


Jonathan and Julie said: “Often when travelling and looking a little lost, there are always some nice people approaching us and offering their help, even if they don't speak English well.” Huaianers treat them like family members, and they have naturally referred to Huai'an as their new Chinese home. When travelling in China, every time they go back to Huai'an, they say “Go home!”





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