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Brittany Redd: The Architecture and the Spicy Food Are Great

By Mikkel LarsenICHONGQING|Apr 30,2021

Chongqing – Brittany Redd grew up in the United States but came to Chongqing after spending 4 years teaching in a small village outside of Istanbul, Turkey with her husband Dakota. They both wanted to explore Asia and were looking for a new adventure. One of the things that enticed them to move to Chongqing was the fact that neither of them had heard of the city prior to doing their interviews with local schools here. This was a good opportunity for them to move to a new place and get to explore China and Asia that way.

Brittany and her husband Dakota both worked as teachers in Chongqing, living in Yubei District, teaching with a local international school. “I got into teaching mainly because I love to learn, and I love helping young people discover that same spark of curiosity.  I got an internship to teach in Paraguay when I was in college and it was there that I discovered I wanted to teach abroad.”

When it came to deciding on Chongqing specifically as their next destination, Chongqing being a city that for many westerners is still somewhat unknown, was something that only made the city even more interesting. “I liked the idea of the green spaces and spicy food.  I also liked that it was ‘off the beaten path.  I really enjoyed the architecture there – especially in the city center and around Hongyadong.”

Brittany in Hongya Cave
Photo Provided by Brittany Redd

Brittany really wanted to have traveled more in Chongqing, unfortunately, she had only lived in Chongqing for a short time when the COVID-19 pandemic hit in the beginning of the year 2020. Months of travel restrictions meant she has only seen a few of the places that Chongqing has to offer, but she did enjoy the places she did get a chance to see. “I didn’t get to travel much around Chongqing due to the pandemic, but I enjoyed wandering around the Expo Gardens and Ciqikou.”

Brittany has since moved back to the United States but says she misses her friends in Chongqing and, in particular, her D&D (Dungeons and Dragons) group that she used to play with. There are also a lot of conveniences about living in China that, once you get used to them, can be hard to living without, like Taobao and Meituan.

Comparing Chongqing to her hometown, the differences are quite striking. “It couldn’t be more different.  I come from a rural place full of vast open spaces and a lot of farmland. The pace of life here is much, much slower.” While the lifestyle in Chongqing is generally considered to be a bit slower than other major cities like Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, or even nearby Chengdu, Chongqing’s rapid development has definitely had an impact on the lifestyle and the general pace of life here.

One of Brittany’s biggest challenges wasn’t, as it is with many foreigners, at least at first, with the spicy food here. Brittany loves spicy food, but she is also a vegetarian, which is still something that isn’t too common in Chongqing where meat is included with almost every meal. “I have always loved spicy food, so that wasn’t a big deal for me, but I did find Chongqing to be very difficult to navigate as a vegetarian.  Very few restaurants had solid vegetarian options and it was often hard to explain that things like broth were also not vegetarian.” The weather and the air quality living in a big city can also have a somewhat negative effect, especially in winter when the air quality tends to drop and the sun sometimes disappears for days.

Overall, despite her short stay in Chongqing, her memories of the city are generally positive. Brittany says the city is absolutely worth a visit, especially if you’re a big city person. The architecture and the spicy food are great, and Chongqing even has a pretty great craft beer scene.

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