I am South African living in Macau and I am loving it!
I was born in Pietermaritzburg in the KwaZulu Natal province and raised in Rooihuiskraal in the Gauteng province of South Africa.
I grew up in a warm and loving home and had a happy childhood. Growing up we would go to my father’s parents in Namibia and have some holidays in the Port Shepstone area of KwaZulu Natal. I grew up in one house and never moved anywhere till I moved to Macau, so it was a major move and shift in thinking for me. We are a very close family and I really love spending time with them.
Being away from my family is really hard, but being with my husband in a new country is a really exciting adventure and is really drawing us closer together.
I have classical and contemporary training in Vocals and had my own business giving singing and guitar lessons to children from the ages of 7 till adulthood for 9 years. I really loved teaching so much and love seeing how students develop as musicians and individuals as the years went by. Having to give up my studio was a really hard part of the move to Macau.
I studied Psychology at UNISA and finished my degree and honors degree there. I am planning to complete my Masters in Psychology during the next couple of years that we will be living in Macau.
I am married to a strong, loving and kind man. We decided to move to Macau to further his career in the aviation industry after praying about it a lot. We are Christians and believe that God has a purpose for us in Macau. We are a community of South Africans sharing the same culture and language which is Afrikaans. We have made friends with a great Australian couple as well and when all of us get together there is always a lot of laughs and a sense of community.
Macau is vibrant and busy. Officially it is a Special Administrative Region of the Republic of China and functions as an autonomous region on the western side of the Pearl River estuary in East Asia. It is a small region with a population of 650,000, making it one of the most densely populated regions in the world.
Macau was a Portuguese colony (returned to Chinese sovereignty on 20 December 1999), and the Portuguese influence can be seen in the Macau and Taipa region especially. The sidewalks have beautiful mosaic patterns on them.
Things to do in Macau
Macau has a lot of luxury casinos in the Cotai strip and is one of the mega gambling cities in the world. The casinos offer gambling, entertainment, shopping, and accommodation and have beautiful lights and finishing.
There are a lot of historical landmarks in Macau, including the St Paul’s Ruins, Senado Square, the Military Fort, Hac Sa and Cheoc Van beach. They all are really great to visit and I would highly recommend it.
The people of Macau speak Cantonese which is a different language than Mandarin. I am slowly learning to speak Cantonese to be able to communicate better.
The Cantonese language is a tonal language and it is very important that you get the tones right when speaking to people as different tones convey different meanings. The different tones sound like a melody to me and being a singer I am finding the tones not that hard to cope with. The difficult part is when I listen to a Cantonese speaker who speaks fast – then it all becomes a blur to me.
In the shops, there is usually one person that can speak a bit of English, and the rest speak Cantonese.
The people are very friendly and willing to help you even though they do not
understand English. I use images of the items I am looking for and show it to the shopkeepers, which usually does the trick.
Housing and accommodation
We live in Coloane and I love it here. The view from our apartment is really beautiful, we look out on the Macau Giant Panda Pavilion where you can view Giant Pandas, Red Pandas, various ape species and Ostriches (which we also have in South Africa).
This area in Macau is out of the hustle and bustle of Taipa and Macau and reminds me of South Africa in the sense that there is more space here.
The renting market fluctuates a lot. Most places are apartments ranging from studio apartments to three bedroom places. In the Hellene Gardens area to the south, there are bigger apartments.
The rental prices are very high compared to South Africa. For the price we pay here for a two bedroom furnished apartment we can rent a four-bedroom house in South Africa.
Local food and home cooking
The food in Macau is diverse. There are European style restaurants along with the Asian restaurants some of which are Korea, Vietnamese, Thai, Japanese and of course Macanese.
We have had a Korean barbecue, which was delicious as you barbecue your own meat and veg; and Japanese sushi, which was the best sushi I have ever eaten in my life. We haven’t tried the Macanese food yet, but I am planning to really explore all there is to offer as time goes by.
I love cooking and baking and am able to cook South African food with the produce we get in Macau. Yes, the meat is different and yes I miss the large grocery shops we have in South Africa, but if you know where to go you can really cook most of the dishes you love.
Our apartment doesn’t have a built-in oven so my husband bought me a counter-top oven which works marvelously for pizza, baking and making a roast.
Overall I am loving living in Macau and will keep on sharing my adventures.