10 Valentine's Day Questions for our i2 Couple
Love is definitely in the air this month...Valentine's Day is a special holiday when lovers express their affection with gifts, cards, and romantic dates. This day has expanded to express affection between couples, relatives, and friends.
At i2 Education there are a lot of couples that not only come together to China but also meet each other through i2 Education. Jack and Jodie are one of the couples that embarked on their journey to China together. They recently got engaged and also had to spend most of 2020 apart from each other. We caught up with them to found out more about their love story.
How did you meet?
We met at University in 2014 in the UK. We decided we wanted to teach abroad, saved up enough money, and began our teaching journey in 2017. We haven’t looked back ever since!
What made you come to China (as a couple)?
We were travelling in South America and were researching different countries to live in. We wanted to experience somewhere new and different. China is very authentic and so BIG. It felt like the perfect choice to experience something unique!
How long have you been together?
We have been together for 7 years and recently got engaged during Spring Festival in Cambodia, just before the pandemic in January 2020. We lived in a COVID/Engagement bubble which was great amongst all the chaos!
How do you feel about working for the same company?
It's perfect for us! We have the same days off, work together to tackle issues, and have amazing friends! We are both Foreign Academic Managers so we do projects together and support each other. We share work ideas to help improve the quality of our campuses.
What do date nights look like in China?
We are pretty chilled people so a date night could be walking around the local area, going for ice cream, or cooking a meal at home with a bottle of wine! Other times, we go to the center of Chengdu and visit some of the foreign restaurants or local sights. For Spring Festival or holidays, we plan trips out of the city in the mountains or another city. Sichuan is such a cool province with many natural places so it's really nice to get out of the city and explore!
What is the best destination for couples in China according to you?
We really think China is what you make it. Flights are cheap and frequent, high-speed trains are amazing to travel and explore. China's technology makes it easy to connect and move around. When you move to a city, there are always new places to see and go. Do your research, ask your Chinese friends, even get your driving license (only a written test is needed if you have a driving license in your own country), and make plans! China is a beautiful country, we wouldn’t say there is one best destination. Life here is what you make it!
What did you discover about your partner living in China?
Jodie: Due to COVID, my fiancée Jack travelled to the UK and unfortunately missed his flight by 2 hours (as the connecting country closed its borders). We spent a long 8 months apart which was the hardest time in our entire relationship. During that time, we really had to work hard to get through it together and the day he got back to Chengdu, we knew… we will never be apart from each other again. I suppose I’ve discovered how to be alone and find happiness in myself, and as a result, we are grateful to have each other to have this journey to be on with. We are grateful for every day we have together, good or bad! After this year, we can get through anything haha.
What is your long-term plan as a couple?
It’s definitely changed a lot this year with COVID and being away from home for so long, so we don’t have many plans right now. With the state of the world, we are happy to be more present. We definitely plan to live abroad and have a family one day but right now… we're just enjoying a lot of lost time.
Who is responsible for solving day-to-day issues in China?
Jodie: Definitely depends on the issue. I will do any paperwork and admin and Jack will do any handy jobs. For anything more complicated, we have i2 Education Foreign Affairs Specialists who are always amazing at helping with any day-to-day problems.
How did you deal with a culture shock as a couple?
Jodie: Normally, it's me that feels the culture shock and Jack is a lot more laid back and carefree. When we first arrive at a place, I find it overwhelming with the language, ways of doing things, people, and just general changes. For me, I try to find my safe space, which is a new apartment. Then very soon, explore and walk around to find my comfort places; local coffee shop, fruit store, shopping mall, supermarket. I start with the basics and then get out of my comfort zone when I feel more settled. Now, we take Chinese classes, use all types of public transport, try new foods and restaurants and embrace the Chinese culture!
By: Jodie Jay Harris
Interview by: Roché Wienand