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六月有奖征文:From nervousness to easiness, to loving

作者:Joshua Williams | 来源:泰州学院

 When I brought my family to Taizhou, we knew little about Chinese culture. I had visited China before, but only for a couple of weeks at a time. I was working at a university in the United States when I was invited to teach here, at TaizhouUniversity. To accept, of course, would be a huge change for my family. We knew that we would need to pack our belongings, sell our extra things, prepare our two children, and travel to the other side of the world to learn a new language and culture, and start a new life.

We also knew that this was the right thing for us to do.

In summer 2014, we accepted the invitation and began to plan for our new life in Taizhou.




When we arrived in Taizhou, we were nervous about being in a new place with so much to learn. We immediately found the staff at TaizhouUniversity to be helpful and kind. They helped us get started. There were so many things to become familiar with. Every daily experience was new and challenging. Our new friends helped us navigate the communication difficulties and language barrier.


Everything was new. Our shopping experiences had to change. We were used to dealing with English-speakers and supermarkets, but now we needed to communicate in Chinese and learn to barter. Our dining experience had to change as we got used to new foods and cooking styles. 


In spite of these difficulties, we have come to love Taizhou. We have made friends with local shopkeepers; we enjoy walking in the local parks, and are happy letting our children play in the field at the universitiescampus. The slower lifestyle, where people smile at each other, take care of their families, and take time to rest and enjoy life, is more suitable for our family. Because we want to focus our lives on friendship and family, we find that we fit in here. We prefer this Taizhou lifestyle to the busy lifestyle of Shanghai or Nanjing. After two years of acclimation and adjustment, Taizhou has become our home.


What has really made us feel at home here are the students. The students have been courteous, friendly, and helpful to us as we adjusted to life in Taizhou. Students and teachers helped us learn how to do everyday things, like purchase a mobile phone plan, or shop online. These things may seem simple, but become very difficult in a new language. As we teach the students proper English, and teach about American culture, the students teach us about China and Chinese culture. As we teach them, they teach us.


The local Taizhou people also bring us happiness and make us feel at home here. Our children have made friends and we enjoy sharing meals together with other families. Although communication is difficult because my Chinese is poor and our friends speak little English, families can communicate in other ways. Sharing food, watching children play, sharing drinks, and playing together are ways we share together. We really love the time we spend with other families here in Taizhou.


Taizhou will always be a home to us because Gryffen, our one-year-old son, was born here and he and his mother were cared for by the local Peoples Hospital. When we first found that Krystle was pregnant, we were nervous to have a baby here. How could we communicate with the doctors? How would they deal with our customs and traditions? We quickly found that we had nothing to worry about. The doctors and staff at the Taizhou Peoples Hospital were progressional and were respectful of our traditions and special requests. We went several times to visit the doctor and, with the help of a translator, we asked many questions. The doctors answered our patiently and made us feel comfortable. Now, we have a healthy little boy who is running about as happily as can be. Our friends ask us, is he Chinese since he was born in Taizhou?Although he is not Chinese, I know Taizhou will always be important to him because it is his birthplace.


Landon and Arabella, our other two children, are studying hard. Landon just began second grade and Arabella is starting Kindergarden. We homeschool them and teach them the basic subjects they would learn in America and they also study Chinese. They study math, English reading, English writing, art, geography, and science. This year they are also studying ancient history. It is great to be able to show them much of the ancient history here in China, rather than only from a book.  The rich ancient history in China makes their learning more hands-on and real to them. They are privileged to learn in a country with such deep history.

我的另外两个孩子Landon and Arabella,他们学习非常认真。Landon刚刚开始二年级的课程,Arabella是幼儿园。我们在家教他们,有一些基础课程,像数学、画画、地理和科学;也有语言课程,英语和中文。今年他们还学习古代史,也很开心在这里可以向他们展示中国古代史,而不再仅仅是从课本上,让他们有了更多的亲身体验,对他们来说这样才更真实。他们也很荣幸能够在这样一个有着如此丰富历史的国家学习。

 Our next Challenge is to learn to speak Chinese well. We are working hard to learn as we teach. I feel that as I learn Chinese, I can help my students more. As I learn the sentence structure and vocabulary, I learn more ways to teach English and I can understand the studentsmistakes and difficulties.


As I try to learn Chinese, I ask the local shopkeepers for help. I often ask, 这是什么?as I try to order food or buy things. The local people help me to learn and teach me the names of new things. We always ask questions to the restaurant employees or fruit shop owners. Taizhou breakfast, one of our favorites, is a good time to learn new Chinese words. We love to go have Taizhou breakfast, talk with the local people and eat famous Taizhou breakfast food.


Taizhou has given us many great experiences. I especially enjoy the beautiful yellow bloom of the rape flower every spring and seeing it carpet the landscape. When I ride my bike, it takes my breath away to see the fields of yellow. We love so many things here. From sharing a Taizhou breakfast with friends, to taking a walk in Mei LanfangGarden, to sharing an evening with family in Old Street, Taizhou has become a comfortable place for our family.


We decided to come to China because we felt that we could do good here. We wanted to give to the students here and help them improve themselves. However, we have found that Taizhou has given much more to us. Taizhou has given us her beauty, her history, and especially, her friendship.


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