Asia Editor's Blog HK People News World

Life on the other side of the world

Written by Daniel Otero

My article about living in China


By: Daniel Otero



Living in China for the past seven years, I often find myself confused.  There are often a mire of emotions which set between love and hate.


When I originally came to China, our country [the U.S.] was dealing with the Global Economic Crisis of 2008. Although well educated, I knew eventually I’d find myself out of work.  Then I decided on something radical.  To come here and teach at a local University in Nanjing (Jiangsu Province), after all, this crisis was caused by bankers back home and other than losing my job, I found myself homeless.  I came here not with the notions of an American society, but to learn from an ancient one and once I learned, go back with new abilities: language, culture and work. Plus, I received other benefits of being here: people, travel and great cuisine.


Coming to the ancient Middle Kingdom, I got more than I bargained for.  I fell in love with a wonderful-young woman, received the daily love of students and friends whom will be forever in my life, even after I’ve left China.


I mean, I love China for the way Chinese swarm around a foreigner and try their best to help the newcomer adapt into their country.


What’s lately breaking my heart is how my compatriots treat me.  When I contact newspapers and publishers, I’m often treated with suspicion back home.  As if they are caught in a Tom Clancy spy novel or we’re back in the 1950s Cold War.  Instead of keeping an open mind which people in the publishing business ought to do; I find myself shunned, rejected or people simply/rudely don’t answer my e-mails from abroad.


Oh, that’s right, I live in China!  Country which America received ninety-percent of its clothing articles, yes, even the caps for the Donald Trump campaign, “Make America Great Again!”


Like when I was promoting my book, “Galician Memories” this past August, 2016 and I contacted editors from a certain Mississippi newspaper.  Yes, they offered me an interview and as soon as told them I was in China, the line literally ‘went dead’.  I never heard from them again!


It really hurt my feelings, since I do an honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay.


I write for several columns in the country.  No, I’m not the greatest writer, but I’m always willing and open-minded enough to hone my skills.

The two biggest reasons to be here are for love and to bring cultures together in peace. Sorry, I don’t know if it sounds too corny, but it’s the truth!


It’s easy to talk human rights from a couch in Boise, Idaho, when things in the real world are entirely different.  Look how we treat our African-American and transgender population, it’s despicable and appalling!  We’re a nation that ought to be embarrassed at our addiction to drugs and food/obesity.  Not only African-Americans suffer our inhumanity through racism and prejudice, it can get rather complicated with the transgender community.  The American-legal system incarcerates troubled-children.  Something we deeply criticize certain African countries for doing.


Now, with all I’ve stated, “I’m proud to be an American”.  I’m just an old-street kid from New York City who did something productive and positive with his life. Shouldn’t this be enough?

About the author

Daniel Otero

A New Yorker who has been living in China for the past nine years. He's a freelance writer and ESL teacher.

Former member of the military with extensive travel and living experiences throughout different countries.

Lover of life, good food, travel, writing and dealing with social issues.