Updated: Jan 25
Didi is a South African woman in her mid-twenties. She’s been living in Shanghai, China for about 10 months and this was her first move abroad.
“Initially I was excited about the move because I felt it showed how independent I was becoming and that I had the courage to live outside of my comfort zone. Little did I know what was waiting on the other side of my Visa!
Moving to China has been very difficult, I think it's mainly because of my physical appearance. Yes I’m an African, black, melanin all that jazz! I have curves for days and I’m about 1.74m tall. Of course I didn’t expect to suddenly look Asian but I never expected that my appearance would result in me feeling like I was on a Broadway show at every turn. I deal with an insane amount of stares on a daily basis, stares which are usually coupled with a flashing phone camera.
Coming here has made me realize that I was tailored for a rainbow nation (where being yourself is normal at whatever shape, size or skin tone) and that I cannot adjust to anything else. At the moment I try my best to ignore the obscene amount of attention I’m forced to deal with. I would not advise any of my friends to come here because it’s emotionally draining. You end up asking yourself why you made the move in the first place. Would I do it again in another country? Perhaps, but in a more culturally diverse country.”
The age-old question that you have to ask yourself when making a move is “why?” For some people it is what drives them to keep going and push through those hard times. For others, the reason why is not strong enough to keep them there. Hard times will come no matter where you are living, but those tough times come in different ways. For Didi the culture of the place she moved to affected her negatively.
Does that mean it will definitely make a negative impact on the next person? No. It is all about how we perceive everything around us.
I disagree with Didi when she says she wouldn’t advise a friend to move to Shanghai, China because we are all different. Where one may love, the other may hate. That is the beauty of life.
I encourage you if you are juggling the decision of moving abroad or not, GO. You will never know until you are on the other side. Didi was brave enough to take a leap of faith and find out for herself, and she found that this particular place wasn’t for her, but she went.