So, firstly ,yes – two years ago I was living in a city called Yiwu, in South-East China, in Zhejiang Province. A relatively small city by Chinese standards, only about 2 million or so peeps. I was an English teacher at a middle school, together with my husband, I was regularly training to improve my various pbs (as in, ‘proper’ training – intervals, tempo runs, stair training, and long runs – the whole shebang) having not long ago been on a permanent high of being the Female Champion (number 1 woman!) at the Great Wall of China Half Marathon a few months back, and I was usually found casually cycling around town in between teaching, or eating delicious street snacks or dumplings from my favourite local restaurant, or being told to ‘go and rest’ after my one or two or three lessons of the day. I could also be found at my computer a lot of the time – typing up chapters of my debut novel Bacon Sleep Sex (the bulk of which I also wrote in Yiwu – having that awesome balance of 10 hours of ‘work’ each week, i.e. the teaching, and the rest of the time being able to explore or run or write.)
There are so many people and things I miss from Yiwu, and so many great memories. If only the pollution wasn’t a problem and if only my Aussie and English friends and family lived there too. Probably could have stayed there indefinitely. Although, no doubt, I would have got that familiar itchy-feet-itis again anyway and would still have been keen to move on and see ‘more’ of China (and the rest of the world). Of course, life wasn’t perfect two years ago, and there were still some struggles (including one major one that has taken almost these past two years to tackle and figure out, and is still an ongoing thing) but I definitely miss the freedom and the lifestyle of where I was two years ago when I sat down to write my first blog post.
In memory of Yiwu life, here are a few photos from my time there: