This week I celebrate 7 YEARS IN CHINA!
What an adventure these past 7 years in China have been. 2 years in Hunan, 1 year in Guangzhou, and now 4 years in Beijing, with countless travels in between. I stepped off the plane a fresh university graduate in 2015 and have experienced so much growth and change over the last 7 years.
Being an expat abroad in China hasn’t been easy, especially since 2020 with the pandemic. There are so many challenges with lockdowns and restrictions, and it’s been almost 3 years since I last went home. I know many other many other expats who are in the same boat (Read more: Expat Exodus from China: Is the Time of the Foreigners Over?)
And then there’s more political noise and media bias now, more so than when I first moved here in 2015, with people quick to criticize or attack, and slow to ask questions or have a thoughtful discussion. It is a way more polarized world now.
Not to mention my account wrongly being labeled state media last year, (which is just dead wrong and Instagram and Facebook have still not fixed) and facing internet trolls – more on this later. You can read a little bit about it in my interview with That’s Magazine: Rachel Weiss on The Day In the Life of a Foreign KOL in China. It’s been an interesting year to say the least!
But I still love living here, doing what I’ve been doing since I came in August 2015 and started Rachel Meets China: sharing my personal experiences with culture and travel in China. Meeting the people here and learning about their lives, their thoughts, their feelings. Cutting through political noise and looking at human experiences.
And I’ve found lifelong friends and community, and the best partner (shout out to Nathan). We founded Date Night China , and have met and collaborated with so many inspiring and passionate people and organizations in Beijing and around China.
I’m so thankful for this supportive community online as well, and those who have made these last 7 years what it is. Thank you for all the kind words, support, curiosity, and engagement throughout these years! I’m not sure what the future will bring, but let’s face it with curiosity and kindness.
I kept this celebratory post short and sweet. For a more in depth review of my story before 2020, check out my 5 year recap: 5 Years of Living in China as an American Expat.