My Money is a collection taking a look at how folks spend their cash – and the typically robust choices they must make. Here, Jen Smith, a youngsters’s TV presenter from Shenzhen in southern China, takes us by way of every week in her life, because the nation slowly emerges from the coronavirus pandemic.
Over to Jen…
Since being in lockdown I’ve been bingeing on Keeping Up With the Kardashians. It begins with one episode after dinner, blink, and out of the blue it is 3am. YouTube, Facebook, Google and Instagram are all banned right here, so that you’d suppose I’d be a binge-free socialite after a 12 months and a half living in China. Well, these websites are banned except you might have a VPN – I pay $120 (£97) a 12 months for mine, so Sunday was a late evening, with a lie-in till 10.30 this morning.
I am going for a run – masks and all, because it’s at the moment unlawful to be outdoors with out one. I make my espresso (purchased within the UK), fruit smoothie (about 20 yuan, $2.82, £2.27) and cereal (80 yuan a packet) earlier than biking to work.
Today is a little bit of a loopy day within the studio. I work as a youngsters’s TV presenter. My firm has profited from the lockdown as extra youngsters are watching the reveals continuous – that means a fast turnaround for us.
We shoot two reveals from 2-6pm then “break” for a gathering. We talk about tomorrow’s shoot whereas I eat dinner – home made aubergine curry. It is regular for the Chinese to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner at work. Normally the corporate offers all employees 25 yuan by way of a food-ordering app, and the entire firm would eat collectively. However, due to the present social distancing, that social time is within the far distant previous!
I make it home for 8pm, order some deep-fried cauliflower as a snack (45 yuan) and begin the inevitable Kardashian binge.
Total spend: 65 yuan ($9.10, £7.37)
It’s a a lot earlier begin (7.30am), however the identical morning routine. On my cycle to work I discover that the visitors is almost again to regular – Shenzhen is inhabited by effectively over 12 million folks, in order you’ll be able to think about rush hour is intense. This would not change the truth that in all places you go it’s a must to scan a QR code – leaving my condo, utilizing the walkway by the river, and entering into the constructing I work in.
After a morning of capturing I eat home made potato curry and quiet down for a nap. Naptime is such a commonality in China that folks retailer camp beds on the workplace. I order a espresso and banana chips (20 yuan) for a pick-me-up earlier than the afternoon’s capturing.
It’s St Paddy’s Day so I head to the native pubs space, catch dinner at a French restaurant (222 yuan), then a number of drinks (25 yuan – primarily purchased by males on the bar for us) earlier than a really tipsy cycle home.
Total spend: 242 yuan ($34, £25)
The morning’s shoot (fortunately) was cancelled, so I nursed a hangover in mattress till round 11am, at which level I had a telephone assembly for a corporation that I do “plus-size” modelling for (for context I’m a UK dimension 12). I eat a bowl of cereal and order extra cauliflower (45 yuan) whereas I watch a movie.
At 2.30pm an intern picks me up, and we head to the federal government constructing to use for a brand new work visa. Ironically, the picture taken for my visa is Photoshopped to take away wrinkles, freckles and my frizzy hair. When I ask why that is being performed for an identification doc, the intern replies that the federal government desires it to be neat, and “the Chinese way” is to have altered pictures.
I do not argue, and have an interview earlier than I hand in my passport. The complete course of takes round two hours, so I order meals to my home whereas on the way in which home (150 yuan for burger, salad and cake!) I take a taxi throughout city which finally ends up being 39.05 yuan.
Total spend: 234.05 yuan ($33, £27)
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The day begins at 8.30am with espresso and studying, earlier than I get a manicure (280 yuan). My nail girl has been very anxious in regards to the state of my palms in the course of the virus, so she spends a whopping two and a half hours treating them whereas I watch a movie (0.99 yuan – purchased by her). Because the manicure was so lengthy I haven’t got time to eat lunch earlier than our health shoot, which runs from 2-5.30pm. I then have an appointment to signal right into a constructing which I’ll shoot in tomorrow.
The constructing is near a grocery store known as Ole (one of many solely western supermarkets), and I decide up groceries for 183 yuan earlier than heading home to cook dinner, hearken to podcasts and prep for the large day of capturing on Friday.
Total spend: 463 yuan ($64, £52.5)
Fridays are usually my busiest day. The means the Chinese appear to operate, is a boss will say “I want this done now” after which staff rush to complete it. Generally, they’ll write scripts on Monday and Tuesday, talk about Wednesday, then we shoot later within the week. The poor editors, regardless of necessary workplace hours in the course of the week, then must work tirelessly by way of the weekend to achieve a Sunday night deadline.
I begin with mashed avocado and a hard-boiled egg earlier than work. The morning shoot runs from 9.30-11.40am, and I’ve an early lunch – home made curry once more, earlier than my common nap time. The afternoon shoot is three hours, so I’ve time to pop home and bathe earlier than a dwell stream at 6pm. I take a taxi to and from the dwell stream which finally ends up being 28 yuan.
Total spend: 28 yuan ($3.92, £3.18)
Finally the weekend! Although issues are slowly getting higher in China after the coronavirus outbreak, there’s nonetheless not an excessive amount of to do. So I take advantage of this time to put in writing, play my piano and usually chill inside. Around 3pm, I enterprise outdoors to the outlets to choose up some snacks (159.60 yuan) earlier than settling in to ring my household again within the UK with a home made cocktail – a pal of mine in Canada is doing a day by day dwell stream, “quarantinis” the place he teaches you how you can make cocktails!
What’s fascinating is that lots of people have began leaving their homes once more, however it’s nonetheless unlawful to go outdoors with out a masks on, and temperature checks are taken in all places. I used to be even refused entry to a constructing attributable to being overseas. I think about it’s because not too long ago the one new circumstances are being introduced in by non-Chinese travelling again to China.
Total spend: 159.60 yuan ($22, £18)
It’s one other gradual day for me as many foreigners haven’t but returned to China, so most of my mates are in a foreign country. I begin the day by reviewing potential scripts.
This takes me to 1.30pm with out realising I have never eaten. I determine to go for a fast run and I return to eat mashed avocado and a hard-boiled egg.
I home-bleach my hair with merchandise purchased within the UK, then head again to modifying once more. About half means by way of the afternoon I take a bit of break to apply Chinese. I take advantage of an app which is implausible and free! Definitely price everybody downloading this throughout social distancing so you’ll be able to be taught new expertise!
For dinner I order on-line once more, a three-dish meal for 160 yuan.
Total spend: 160 yuan ($22.4, £18)
Overall weekly spend: 1352 yuan ($189, £153)