My Money is a sequence taking a look at how individuals spend their cash – and the typically powerful choices they have to make. Here, Jen Smith, a youngsters’s TV presenter from Shenzhen in southern China, takes us via per 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 all of a sudden 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 yr and a half residing in China. Well, these websites are banned until you have a VPN – I pay $120 (£97) a yr for mine, so Sunday was a late night time, with a lie-in till 10.30 this morning.
I’m going for a run – masks and all, because it’s at the moment unlawful to be exterior 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 – which means a fast turnaround for us.
We shoot two reveals from 2-6pm then “break” for a gathering. We focus on 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 provides all workers 25 yuan via 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 residence 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 nearly again to regular – Shenzhen is inhabited by effectively over 12 million individuals, in order you may think about rush hour is intense. This would not change the truth that in all places you go you have to scan a QR code – leaving my residence, 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 calm 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 just a few drinks (25 yuan – primarily purchased by males on the bar for us) earlier than a really tipsy cycle residence.
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 measurement 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 carried out 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 entire course of takes round two hours, so I order meals to my home whereas on the way in which residence (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 woman has been very nervous in regards to the state of my arms 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 do not have 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 close to a grocery store known as Ole (one of many solely western supermarkets), and I decide up groceries for 183 yuan earlier than heading residence 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 typically my busiest day. The approach the Chinese appear to perform, 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, focus on Wednesday, then we shoot later within the week. The poor editors, regardless of necessary workplace hours in the course of the week, then have to work tirelessly via the weekend to attain 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 have an early lunch – home made curry once more, earlier than my common nap time. The afternoon shoot is three hours, so I have time to pop residence 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 jot down, play my piano and customarily chill inside. Around 3pm, I enterprise exterior to the retailers to select up some snacks (159.60 yuan) earlier than settling in to ring my household again within the UK with a home made cocktail – a buddy of mine in Canada is doing a day by day dwell stream, “quarantinis” the place he teaches you make cocktails!
What’s attention-grabbing is that lots of people have started leaving their houses once more, however it’s nonetheless unlawful to go exterior and not using a masks on, and temperature checks are taken in all places. I used to be even refused entry to a constructing because of being international. I think about it’s because lately the one new instances 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 have not but returned to China, so most of my buddies 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 enhancing once more. About half approach via the afternoon I take a bit break to apply Chinese. I take advantage of an app which is improbable and free! Definitely price everybody downloading this throughout social distancing so you may study 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)