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A foreigner's journey of discovery in Guiyang

By Candice Swigelaar | chinadaily.com.cn| Updated: 2024-01-26 Print


From the left: Candice, Skylar, Nicolas and Stephen. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

In 2018, I left South Africa for Anhui, China, with my husband, Stephen, and our boys, Nicolas (9) and Skylar (5). Our first stop was Maanshan, a lively city by the Yangtze River that seamlessly blended modernity and traditions. We explored local markets, enjoyed community festivities, and immersed ourselves in Maanshan's cultural tapestry.

Later, we moved to Dangtu county, which was much quieter. We embraced the tranquil countryside and close-knit community. Anhui's natural beauty and warm hospitality left lasting memories, but the desire for new adventures led us to Guiyang, capital of Southwest China's Guizhou province.

Guiyang welcomed us warmly, allowing us to work at Guiyang Prime International School. This school enriched our professional lives and nurtured our children's academic growth. Guiyang Prime International School's dynamic learning environment and diverse international community ignited a love for learning, making it a symbol of quality education. My sons are now almost fluent in Chinese.

During our five years in China, we explored various places, like Qingdao, Beijing, Shanghai, Nanjing, Guangzhou, Huangshan, and Wuhu. Each city offered unique experiences.


Skylar explores Guiyang city. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

Reflecting on our years in Guiyang, the city has proven to be a treasure trove of experiences. Guiyang's commitment to ecological balance is evident in its breathtaking landscapes, where rolling hills and lush greenery create a natural canvas. Scenic locations like Qianling Park and Baihua Lake offer serenity, while the Nanming River weaves a tale of environmental sustainability.

Guiyang has been our haven since 2021. Its efficient infrastructure, well-connected transportation network, and vibrant markets make everyday life culturally rich. Navigating the city's urban landscape became a daily delight, as it revealed the depth of Guiyang's unique charm.

The hidden gems of Guiyang unfold in its rural outskirts, where serene landscapes and tight-knit communities offer a refreshing contrast to the urban pulse. Here, we discovered the simplicity and authenticity of rural living.

Guiyang's cultural richness became integral to our lives. Ethnic diversity finds expression in vibrant festivals where traditional music, dance, and colorful costumes take center stage. Our participation in local celebrations, such as the Dragon Boat Festival and Miao New Year celebrations, wove our story into Guiyang's cultural heritage.


Skylar and Nicolas pose for a group photo with other students from Guiyang Prime International School. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

No exploration of Guiyang would be complete without savoring its distinctive cuisine. From the fiery flavors of Guizhou's famous spicy hotpot to the delectable local snacks found in bustling night markets, every culinary encounter has been an adventure. The city's diverse gastronomic landscape mirrors its rich history.

In conclusion, our life in Guiyang has been a captivating journey filled with natural wonders, urban conveniences, countryside tranquility, and unique customs and cultures. Guiyang has not merely been a place to reside, but a cherished home that warmly embraced us as foreigners. Our Guiyang story is an ongoing narrative, a testament to the city's enduring charm through the eyes of those fortunate enough to call it home. Looking ahead, we eagerly anticipate the next chapters of our Guiyang adventure.

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