Name: William Daniel Garst
Time spent in China: Five years
First, the country is undergoing very rapid economic and social change, developing literally at light speed. This makes China one of the most interesting countries in the world today, and I was very keen to observe all of this first-hand. Besides, I have always been interested in Chinese history and culture ... I jumped at the opportunity of working in China when it came.
I work for a Chinese State-owned company as a writer, editor, corporate trainer and English teacher. The China National Logging Company, where I work, was recently merged with the Great Wall Drilling Company, a subsidiary of the China National Petroleum Company.
My Mandarin is probably intermediate to upper intermediate (I can not only speak it, but can read and write some). My biggest problems remain pronunciation.
I'm not sure if this is a serious romantic relationship, but I am very good friend with a Chinese woman, who's an English teacher at a university here. We work a lot together on part-time job projects. And when she has the time - she's very busy and has a small son to boot - we go to museums, parks, art galleries.
Save for the cafeteria where I eat at work, the food in Beijing, both Chinese and non-Chinese, is very good. I pretty much like all kinds of Chinese food, except the fish, which is too bony. And while I don't care for the spicy fish that's a specialty of Dongzhimen's Gui Jie restaurants, I do like the hot pot at Little Sheep. And I naturally think that Peking Roast Duck is great.
I am satisfied with the money I'm making now in Beijing, which is much better than what I earned teaching English at Chinese universities. Even in Beijing, which is one of the expensive Chinese cities, I can enjoy the urban adventure lifestyle - have a nice apartment in the center of town, socialize a lot, go to cafes, restaurants, and bars, buy books and odd stuff.
I plan to live here for another four years. I hope my Chinese can become more or less native by then. I also expect that I will have saved up quite a lot of money by then. I also hope to have acquired some good work experience that will help me land a nice job when I return to the US.