China Daily: Elyse’s American Dream in China

Don’t Call Me Laowai: Elyse’s American Dream in China – China Daily

by Berta Tilmataite

It’s been 8 years Elyse lives in Beijing. Now she started to study Peking Opera at the National Academy of Chinese Theatre Arts and is the only one westerner studying there. Elyse came to China unexpectedly and fell in love with Beijing, so decided to come here after her graduation. “There is a really good Chinese word yuen fen, that explains how I ended up in China. I was originally studying Arabic and I was supposed to go to Egypt to study abroad, but my university decided it was a little bit risky. And then my friend said, I should go with them to Beijing. So I came. It was a special semester, every morning we had Chinese class and every afternoon we would go and do anthropological field studies on the streets of Beijing. So, if that doesn’t make you fall in love with the city… It was a really nice way to get an introduction to Beijing. I came back another semester and then I moved here in 2003, after the graduation. I don’t think you decide to stay in Beijing, as life just happens. I would have never imagined that I would be doing things that I’m doing now. As a friend of mine put it, I’m achieving my American dream by living in China, which is funny, but kind of true.” Elyse writes and directs plays and is already known in Beijing for her comedies. “I don’t need for people to love me, that’s not my goal. I need for people to think about things and step outside of their boxes. That’s what I want,” says Elyse. “And for them to laugh. Because you either are going to laugh or you are going to cry. Those are the two reactions you are going to have to any issue that you deal with in your life. As you deal with your life and issues that you come across, you can crawl and cry about them or you can laugh about them and be a bigger person. Laughter is one of the things that make human good. And it is a great medicine. Why not to have more laughter?”

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