The Beginning [Wuxi, China]

I landed in Beijing in the middle of the most insufferable humidity I’ve ever experienced in my adult life. I traveled with thirty-two kilos worth of belongings to last me for the year, a ‘basher’ phone for my new Chinese sim card, petty cash and cocoa-butter cream. But nothing could have fully prepared me for this experience.

I knew I could no longer house the feeling of failure compounded by job rejection after job rejection, a bachelor’s degree that seemed to reaffirm its inadequacy and a future met with uncertainty. But this was different, and for a few fleeting moments the thought of life back home felt so sweet. So safe. So tangible. Here their eyes bore into me and a sweet little girl sat with her dad whose hysterical reaction to my brown skin validated my growing discomfort: ‘外国人! / wàiguórén!’ (Foreigner!).

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Elisia is a self-taught travel writer and photographer with years of cross-country road trips left in her. She is fascinated with the relationship between languages and culture, and has lived in China on three separate occasions – teaching English to senior high school students and later studying at the University of Nanjing. Blogging and DSLR photography are her main passions outside of editing, travelling and language learning. She currently runs a travel blog and is a member of several international travel groups. You can find her stories at


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