Guangzhou –> Athens

Written Feb. 7, 2012

Guangzhou and Athens, two cities I never thought I’d ever work or live in. In fact I’d never even hear of Guangzhou before I arrived here. Today I say goodbye to this city though; A place where I only spent 2.5 months but which seems to have taught me much about myself.

Im sitting on the roof of my apartment block sipping my morning coffee and trying to just take it all in on last time. I still cant get over how huge this city is (13 million people), and how given its size I had never heard of it before. From up here it just stretches as far as my eyes can see. The old mixed in with the new, though it seems the new is beginning to replace the old. I’m not being overly sentimental, just stating the obvious. I think that’s why I like Hong Kong so much though. It is such a mix of old and new, east and west. You can be amongst the smallest, oldest lanes observing locals live in ways you couldn’t imagine, and then emerge onto a busy street which is serviced by double decker English style buses and within seconds be amongst the most modern apartments. It is seamless. Here in GZ there doesn’t seem to be much emphasis placed on conserving the old.

Buildings go up in weeks not months, and renovations take days, not weeks. We’ve all heard about how cheap labour is in China, but you may be surprised at how entrepreneurial the people are, and I’m not just talking the Chinese. There is a large and growing West African community as well as an Arab community, and theyre all in the business of making money.

It seems that 80 percent of the people I met here (other than models) were themselves entrepreneurs of some kind. They owned restaurants, corner stores, dance studios, clothing lines and cafes. Even Mandy, an english teacher from Australia who I met, split her time between teaching and her web design business.

I came to this city hoping to model, but it’s no surprise perhaps, that I am leaving with a better sense of who I am and what I want professionally, modeling aside. Somehow this city has inspired me by introducing me to its people. Ill miss them not because we became the best of friends, but because being around such people is so inspiring. They see opportunities everywhere, and love what they do,

As I leave for Greece, I know that the coming weeks are far from certain. What I do know is that I’ve been presented with an opportunity and for the next two weeks I’ll be doing everything I can to make the most of it. Thats all I can do, and it’s what my friends in GZ have taught me to do.

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