IN CHINA ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE. THE SKY IS THE LIMIT. BE ALL THAT YOU CAN BE

IN CHINA ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE. THE SKY IS THE LIMIT. BE ALL THAT YOU CAN BE by Jeff J Brown – China Rising

My family and I lived in China 1990-1997 and then 2010 to the present, and I have no intention of leaving.

There are things that happened in our lives here that would probably have had very little chance of occurring, if we were living in Europe or the United States.

To learn about the first period, 1990-1997, you’ll want to read Books #1 and #2 of The China Trilogy ( http://chinarising.puntopress.com/2017/05/19/the-china-trilogy/). In 44 Days (https://ganxy.com/i/88276/), I reflect back a lot on the 1990s and compare them to the 2010s. The contrast is remarkable. In China Rising (https://ganxy.com/i/113798/), to honor my family and all that we did together in the 1990s, I included at the end several letters that I wrote during that era, which really capture the zeitgeist of the times.  It was a very special and formative seven years. It was also incredibly intense, crazy and emotionally draining.

One area that has been a real hoot is acting in movies and TV shows. When we came back in 2010, Chinese cinema and TV were booming. Naturally, storylines often included roles for non-Chinese actors. Beijing was claiming status as the Hollywood of East Asia, so for the adventuresome, it was the perfect place to be.

Acting agents were cruising social media and online groups, looking for “foreign talent”. I can’t even recall how, but we got hooked up with an agent, who will go unnamed, since we found out much later that she was paying us the minimum, when we qualified for much more, based on speaking parts, experience, etc., and likely pocketed the difference. It’s OK. We were making good salaries as international teachers and at the most, it represented no more than a few thousand RMB, not that much for us, probably a lot for her. We knew that our agent was taking care of her mother and she wasn’t driving around in a Ferrari. Heck, she didn’t even have a driver’s license. For us anyway, it was simply a blast to be part of the action and see how big movie productions get done in China.

Over Christmas-New Year 2011-12, our older daughter, Maia, came to visit from the US. Our agent told us that our younger daughter, Chara, fit the part for a movie being filmed in Shanghai. We sent photos of her and she was cast for the part. Since Chara was only 15 at the time, the production company offered to pay for one of us parents to accompany her. We explained to our agent that our older daughter was visiting for only two weeks, it was Christmas-New Year and we really didn’t want to be separated. The production company agreed for all four of us to go to Shanghai, but we would have to pay for the two extra plane tickets, hotel room and per diem. They would send us the bill when it was all over. Fair enough. We thought it would be fun to spend a few days in Shanghai and see the New Year’s festivities on The Bund, an historic district in the city.

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Jeff Brown

Jeff grew up in the heartland of the United States, Oklahoma, much of it on a family farm, and graduated from Oklahoma State University. He went to Brazil while in graduate school at Purdue University, to seek his fortune, which whet his appetite for traveling the globe. This helped inspire him to be a Peace Corps Volunteer in Tunisia in 1980 and he lived and worked in Africa, the Middle East, China and Europe for the next 21 years. All the while, he mastered Portuguese, Arabic, French and Mandarin, while traveling to over 85 countries. He then returned to America for nine years, whereupon he moved back to China in 2010. He lives in China with his wife, where he teaches passionately in an international school. Jeff is a dual national French-American.