GUEST POST: How China has changed my life by Jin Feng

GUEST POST: How China has changed my life by Jin Feng

Today’s guest post is from one of my good friends Jin Feng. We have spent a great time training kungfu in a Chinese Martial Arts school. She writes about her experience in China on her blog YinYangJinFeng and the one or other article on dating Chinese men.

Read on and see how China has changed her life.



kungfu group

From one Kung fu sister to another, I have been requested by Anna to write a guest post for her lovely blog that is coming along lovely I should add.

I have some very personal experience, breath taking, challenging experiences I could write about but instead I should just write about how China changed my life. So here goes past one of my journey.

It was 2010 and I set off into the world on a journey, unprepared and unknowing what was going to hit me. I heard often people travel to find themselves and I thought it was a silly idea. I knew me and I didn’t want to seek or find any anything. I just wanted to have a lovely holiday that I deserved due to working so hard for the previous however many years. I was tired, I was fed up and I wanted to do something exciting. I thought carefully about my trip and planned it for months in advance. I wanted a trip to treat myself for the hard work and hardships I had experienced in my life. I surely deserved it, right? After all, what is life if you don’t live a little. In hindsight, it was quite obviously a transition stage. At that moment, I was 23. I has worked as a youth worker for 6 years already and had finally gathered enough courage to undertake a degree. And I was also very fed up with work and hardship all the times. You know what they, all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.

So what was I going to do? I allowed myself to go wild. I really wanted to treat myself, I wanted to give myself everything I wanted to have out of a holiday or an experience. So I thought very carefully about how I could achieve my wildest dreams. What could I do for three months, what was really in my heard desire.

Being the practical me, I thought I should have an all round rich experience. Something good for the heart, good for the soul, practical, meaningful, to learn a skill, something pampering but also something that is just simply youthful and unlimited bundles of joy and fun. And this is what I came up with, my itinerary to china- Hawaii- Miami and back to London, where I am based.

China- when I thought about what is really my hearts desire, something I would really like to do, I came up with training shaolin martial arts. I wanted to do something for myself that would impress me. I thought about what do I really rate or would think “wow this is so cool” about? It wasn’t so hard to come up with something. I have also secretely wanted to do more sports but didn’t have the time. I yearn for having a good physique and skills to impress me alone. I really admire people who are masters of their arts and I wanted to become a person that I would be very much impressed and envious by. I never had time for sports. Life was so busy and always about work and I never had the time to dedicate to enjoying sports. It didn’t help that I just don’t like jogging around the park or that I don’t like to throw myself half heartedly but like to go all in. I thought about it carefully and I decided that the type of martial art that suits me is one that also that is also spiritual and meaningful, one that looks beyond physique. I came up with Shaolin Gong Fu because I connected it with monks, meditation and Buddhism, and I therefore thought it could give me that all round experience I was looking for. Perfect. Admittedly it was a close call with going to volunteer in a monastery in Nepal, how differently things would have turned out if that coin didn’t make up my mind while it was still in the air.
To prepare, it should probably be known that I hasn’t worked out a day in my life. At that point, I was 23 and the only sport I had ever done is in school. I certainly wanted a challenge but something perhaps most relaxing too. Like a typical scene in a Kung fu movie, I envisaged myself training martial arts somewhere calm and relaxing, with mountains and lakes for backdrop and basic means to live. I found my perfect little school somewhere in the South of China. I told my mother of my plans and she guided me. She asked, “Why are you going to study Shaolin Gong Fu but don’t go directly to the heart? Go to Shaolin Temple!” Hmm, I thought. Good idea, but frankly it would be embarrassing. A skinny, untrained and fragile girl in a sport full of men and going to the shaolin temple at that? Never I thought, I would be too embarrassed, I would feel like I would be disappointing my teachers, and plus surely they wouldn’t accept me anyway??
Still, what was the harm in trying, in researching. Surely if they couldn’t work with beginners they wouldn’t accept me. I decided that I was to be accepted then I should put my own fears and doubts aside and take it easy and be kind to myself.
Shaolin Temple didn’t work out, I don’t quite remember why. I found the next best thing instead, a school near the Shaolin Temple. I researched and asked many questions. I chose it over my first choice in the South and soon enough I got over every fear I had and thought Fuck It. That’s right you heard right. I mean it’s not everyday you make a decision to go to a school were you will train 8 hours a day for 6 days a week prior to having any training before. Not even jogging. So that literally was the moment I really thought to myself Fuck It. I trained myself by doing a few jogs for a few weeks before departing to China. I also ate as much as I could because I was certain I will loose weight in the Kung Fu school. It didn’t even cross my mind to learn any Chinese though. I didn’t even know there was a distinction between Mandarin and Cantonese. I didn’t know anything about China, in complete blissful ignorance. I did not even have any Chinese mates and the only thing I knew about Chinese culture is the chicken friend rice and chow mien I used to order and that Chinese people keep to themselves. Oh, the ignorance of what was about to happen, unexpecting, transformational, awakening to my very core of being.

Hawaii- for this trip, I wanted to pamper myself and have an opportunity to wear pretty dresses and make up- something I hadn’t done in a long time. I wanted to fulfil my dream of going to Hawaii because as a child I remember that is the most exotic location I heard about. It was a once in a life time experience, a trip of a life time. I wanted to do this for myself because it may have frankly been the first time I have ever thought about my needs, what do I want to do? Putting me first. This included going to one of the most notorious paradise locations on the earth- Hawaii. I wanted to as luau, I wanted to chill on the beach, I wanted to see beautiful nature and I wanted to learn how to surf. I planned to volunteer at a surf shop and learning surfing was due to be the focus of my trip here. The balance between spoiling myself rotten in one of the most beautiful places in the world and laying my lotion soaked bum on the beach.
To prepare for Hawaii, Maui to be the exact. If that means anything to you, they say Maui No Ka Oi. Means Maui is the best Island in Hawaii. I watched tons of videos on what to do there including the Road to Hana, emailed tons of surf shops and other volunteer centres so I could feel guilt free for spending money that in my humble family we don’t really do.

Miami- I couldn’t have a complete trip without going to party paradise that every young person would relish in. I liked going partying, going clubbing, Miami was going to give it that final sense of completeness. Give it that sense of really letting my hair down and having a crazy ole wild time and Epicness to dance to. I surely prepared myself with Will Smith’s Miami to get myself in the right mood to welcome me to Miami. Bienvenido a Miami!

And here it was- my trip of a life time. My perfect, complete getaway. Guilt free because I was doing something important for myself, something useful that is beneficial for me, for my health, for my self value, esteem and respect. With just the right dose of mixing skills and doing good and going wild and partying.

Admittedly planning this trip and everything in the lead up of this trip were the last moments in my life as I knew it. I didn’t have an idea that my life was complete going to change. I has a sneaky feeling before I left. I told my mother before leaving. Three intuitions that I hadn’t had a clue were more prophetic than I realised.

“Mum, I have a funny feeling that something big is going to happen on this trip. I have a funny feeling that my life is going to change and never be the same and that I am going to meet the man I am going to marry.”

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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.

One thought on “GUEST POST: How China has changed my life by Jin Feng

  1. So nice to hear from Jin Feng! I was fortunate enough to meet up with her in China in 2011 and hear some of her stories about this life-changing experience she had. China is an incredible country and it has touched so many of us out there (myself included).

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