中文 |

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

By : InKunming | Published: 2018-January-15

The western restaurant & bar, The park, run by James.

"We walked around the streets of Kunming to see locals' lifestyles, observed distinctive buildings and pavilions, and enjoyed the local customs." James smiled and said. He originally intended to visit other cities in Yunnan, but the one-month holiday had already gone, he was still staying in Kunming.

After the trip, James returned to Hubei to complete his teaching assignment. "I thought of finding a job in Kunming when the semester finished." Jimmy said frankly, Kunming was still attractive to him regardless of visiting twice.

A fulfilling life in Kunming with thriving business

James completed his study and came to Kunming in May 2010. It is the third time for him to meet with Kunming where he settled down and started his own career.

James initially got a job at International Department of Kunming Number One High School. He could practice Chinese while teaching English. He chose Alice in Wonderland as teaching material to improve students' English levels. Meantime, he would communicate with them in Chinese. Speaking of his current Chinese level, James said in standard Mandarin, "差不多".

During the teaching period, James traveled in Lijiang, Dali, Shangri-La and other places. Because of the simple wish of having his own business, he invited friends to establish The Park.

James indicated that running a business in Kunming has different challanges than running one abroad. The Park began to support mobile pay. For example, almost half of the guests prefer to use Wechat or Alipay saving a lot of trouble.

"Although there were substantive difficulties from the selection of sites to the funds for construction in the beginning of the business, fortunately my Chinese and foreign friends came and helped me a lot." James is not willing to talk about the difficulties in details, but he is grateful to the friends who gave a hand once. Now The Park is operating well with increasing popularity and customers.

Running The Park is going to fill a large part of his life. However, the English book sharing meeting usually held on Tuesday every two weeks became the stage to communicate with each other. James introduced that about ten people will be invited to the meeting sitting around the bar and recommends a book that he or she read lately. Audience will read it if they are interested, and they will give feedback in the next sharing meeting. Besides English books, Chinese books about Yunnan and Chinese culture are welcomed in the sharing fair as well.

“It is pleasant to have such friends who love reading and sharing,” James said. He enjoys those recommended books and learns different ways of thinking from friends.

Since 2010, James has witnessed and became familiar with the significant changes of Kunming, "My hometown in the UK is much the same today as a hundred years ago, but Kunming is developing very fast. The international airport, subways, skyscrapers and bullet trains have been built quickly in recent years. This is an exciting development. It is a dynamic Kunming."

James put his coffee down and started talking about the future. He likes the uncertainty of life rather than making plans in advance. When asked “will you get married in China”, James laughed, “it is not planned. Maybe someday I will meet someone and fall in love, then I will be married in China.”

From the first rough visit in Kunming, to the second visit spending one month on hanging out in the city, then to settle down here, James took nine years. Not only a shelter, for James, Kunming is like a second home for his life and career. Moreover, Kunming becomes a “dream city” with infinite possibilities for the future.

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(Editors: Rachel, Christine, Tracy)

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