SHANGHAI IS A WHIRLWIND OF DISCOVERY, FROM ITS HISTORICAL SITES SUCH AS THE MUSEUMS, AND WATER TOWNS TO ITS CAPTIVATING CULTURE. INBOUND SA WRITER KETSIA MAKOLA SPOKE TO MENTAL HEALTH ADVOCATE TONYE STUURMAN IN CHINA.
What do you love about the city you currently live in?
My husband, Dudley is a teacher at an international school and our daughter, Skylah-Rose is in her last year of high school. I am a volunteer working in the fields of mental health and gender-based violence.
When we moved to Shanghai eight years ago it took me a while to adapt. We lived in a smaller Chinese city of 5 million people. So coming to Shanghai with its 29.2 million people was a challenge.
Shanghai is a massive, beautiful city with so many interesting things and places to explore. There is something for everybody. You can visit cultural and historical places such as water towns, museums, the Yuyuan Garden, People’s Square, and temples such as the Jade Buddha Temple and the Jing’an Temple. There is also Disney World, the Pearl Tower, the Bund, the French Concession, and of course shopping malls on every corner!
WHEN I MISS HOME I BAKE! WHEN I MISS MY DAD I MAKE SAGO PUDDING, JUST LIKE HE TAUGHT ME.
Working and living in Shanghai is of course different from being a tourist. Work takes up most of our time and we make use of our holidays to explore the city.
Living in Shanghai has spoilt me. Public transport is safe, fast, and efficient. You don’t have to leave your house to order food or clothes. Everything is available online and delivery is fast.
What do you find challenging about the culture?
The Chinese culture is rich, unique, and beautiful. The Chinese people are very proud of their heritage and culture.
We have lived in a few countries for the past 15 years and we always try to learn about the culture of the country we live in. It was no different with China. When we came here 10 years ago, we met amazing Chinese friends who guided us in adapting and living here. As expats, we are guests in our host country, and it is so important to be open-minded and respectful of your host country.
I am ashamed to say that I have still not mastered the Chinese language, but our daughter has adopted Chinese as her second language. She is our translator if needed. China’s technology has also made it easy for me to navigate my way without speaking the language.
What do you miss about South Africa?
I miss my Mother City, Cape Town, and its food!
Recently I spoke to a number of Chinese people who have visited Cape Town, and they were treated so well by our Capetonians. When I hear them speak about our beautiful city and its people, it makes me so proud to be a Capetonian.
What do you do when you miss home?
When I miss home I bake! When I miss my dad I make sago pudding, just like he taught me. At Easter, I make pickled fish and bake my own hot cross buns. In winter I bake malva pudding and in summer it is peppermint crisp tart. At Christmas there will always be cookies and of course trifle on Christmas day.