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James' Kunming Story: A Brit abroad settling down & relishing the prospects of life

By : InKunming | Published: 2018-January-15

James enjoys life in Kunming much like the locals do.

When it comes to the name of The Park, James thought for a second and said, “it is easy to remember ‘The Park’ because of its location. Moreover, if there are some activities to hold here, like wine tasting, people can directly say ‘wine in The Park, which represents the event being held at The Park and Cuihu Park at the same time.” James thought that most of the Chinese would probably know these two simple words therefore he did not get a Chinese name. He will definitely take a Chinese name if there is a chance to open a branch in the future.

The Park has occasionally hosted weddings and regularly holds book sharing meetings, wine tasting, holiday parties, corporation dinner, etc. When recalled the most impressive event held in The Park, James said with excited tone, “it was a sunny day. White chairs, wedding cake, champagne, white yarn and balloons decorated The Park. Bride and groom standing on the stage sworn to each other with a lot of friends sitting down to witness their happiness.” It is the happiest thing for James to have people coming here, singing, dancing and chatting with smile on their faces.

"Sometimes James shuts the door of the shop and takes us to relax outside.” Nie Zhengli, the waitress of The Park, said. She has been working here for two years. Instead, she has changed several jobs before. She points out that she learned oral English and wine culture from James. It is more like a home business here.

James emphasizes that life is supposed to be full of joy. In addition to business, he is willing to relish the moment in other places with his friends.

Talking about his favorite place to go, he said a name, Sanjiacun reservoir, which many locals are unfamiliar with. James opened Baidu map on his phone and introduced, “from the west Renmin road, here is the Sanjiacun reservoir, there is a Baozhu park near Baohua road. You can call a taxi, van, or Didi...” For a moment, the brown-eyed foreigner has become a Kunming native.

When the topic came to the food, James cheerfully recommended his favorite Dai food in Kunming. “There was a Dai restaurant near Xinwen road, but now I don’t know if it is still there. Another one is on Nanping street near where I live,” James said. As for the most famous cross-the-bridge rice noodles, James likes it very much, but he said that unfortunately most of the restaurants are running for tourists. It is difficult to find the authentic cross-the-bridge rice noodles now.

It is hard to imagine that such a "Kunming Hand" had never heard of Beijing Olympics by 2009, only knew cute panda, the Great Wall and the Terracotta Warriors like many other British men at that time. Kunming, which is reputed as Spring City, was never showing in his mind.

Visiting Kunming twice: know and love the city

Speaking of the stories with Kunming, James recalled fond memories.

In early 2009, James started traveling southward from Russia to Singapore. As one of the stop for his traveling, James hurriedly spent one day in Kunming. "It was the first time I saw the sun for more than three-month trip." Warmth became the first impression of Kunming that came to James’s mind.

Expect for the warm sunshine, James did not have much impression about Kunming. One year later, he traveled in Kunming as a foreign language teacher. He was loving this city during the second trip.

In 2010, James started teaching English at a college in Ezhou, Hubei province. He began learning Chinese at that time."When I saw Chinese characters for the first time, I did not know what it means at all. I assumed that those characters were as mysterious as pictures." James explained that he always tries to talk with people in Chinese.

When the winter vacation came, he intended to visit Guilin. However, when he found that it was raining in Guilin while Kunming was sunny, he immediately changed the itinerary, buying a flight ticket to Kunming.

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