Where exactly do you live?

We live in Northern Anhui province in a small city called Bozhou. Our city is very rural but still has lots of cultural heritage and is China’s traditional Chinese medicine capital. Check out this post for more information.

Why did you move to the middle of nowhere?

Some people don’t understand how I could move to Bozhou after living in London and Shanghai for several years. The answer to this question is very simple: Bozhou is the home town of my husband and currently he is learning acupuncture with a very good doctor here, so in order to be with him I made some sacrifices and moved to his town. We were just very tired of distance relationship.

How did you two meet?

It’s a longer story, but the simple version is that we met in a kungfu school. No, he was not my teacher (and nor will he ever be, it’s just not working). The fact that we met at all that day had a lot to do with fate, and every time I think back it makes me smile. For a detailed story about how we met, check out this post.

Can you speak Chinese?

Yes. I can speak and write Chinese more or less fluently. I have been studying it for about four years in university, but really learn how to speak I learned after graduating and living in China. Thus, my Chinese has been acquired in China itself, and this is why I have a dialect, no not a foreigner dialect, but a local Chinese dialect. I speak a mixture of Bozhou and Henan dialect. My husband is to blame. He is from Bozhou, but spend most of his childhood in the Henan Shaolin temple. So, yes, he is solely to blame for my lack in Putonghua (standard Mandarin Chinese).

What language do you and Jinlong communicate in?

We exclusively talk in Chinese. When I met Jinlong he just knew about ten English words. Years later, he has upgraded to maybe 40 words, but it’s still not enough for a conversation. We are very comfortable to talk only in Chinese which creates problems for his English language learning.

When will you have children?

Not anytime soon. We just ended our long distance relationship beginning of 2014 and moved together and I just finished my Master degree at the same time, so we first want to spend some time together, and of course, earn some money.

Where did you learn how to draw?

I have never received any formal art education. My mom is very good at drawing and painting (she never learned it either). I just watched her when I was young and imitated. I still like to imitate things that is why I prefer realistic art. I am fascinated by the human face, so I mainly focus on portraits.

What kind of materials do you use for your art?

I have started with simple pencil drawings on print paper. But with the time I have discovered so many more tools and materials. In high school I really enjoyed water color. A few years ago I discovered the magic of soft pastels, and just recently I fell in love with markers (I don’t have money for the really expensive copic markers, so I use a really cheap Chinese brand, but they do a fine job).

Can you draw a picture for me?

Yes! Check out my commission page or simply email me at annazech (at) Hotmail (dot) de

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Anna Z. is a freelance illustrator and portrait artist in her late 20s, with a passion for Martial Arts and Chinese culture, and is the creator of Lost Panda, a blog to China and Art. Together with her husband, a Chinese national, she writes about daily life in rural China, focusing on cultural and social differences and the joys (and sometimes difficulties) as an intercultural couple. Apart from China related topics, she publishes her artwork, photography, art material reviews and tutorials to help more people discover their creative side. She is fluent in German, English and Mandarin Chinese.

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