Hello! My name is Silvia Atanasova. My Chinese name is Ai Lin Lin, but people call me Lin Lin for short. Until 2012 I had never even thought that my life will lead me to China.
After I graduated from The Maths High school in my hometown, Bourgas with excellence, I decided to completely change the course of my education and because I find it difficult to occupy myself with only one activity at once, I decided to make things interesting and to enroll full time in two bachelor programmes, in two different universities…at the same time. And so 4 years later I graduated successfully from the Trainer’s Faculty at NSA “Vasil Levski”, with speciality tennis and from NBU with a degree in International relations. Still nothing remotely connected with China and the Chinese language.
My Master’s degree is what led me to the Far East.
In 2012, I won a full scholarship from the Chinese government for a master’s degree…and so my Oriental fairytale began. Heading to China, not only that I didn’t know a single word in Chinese, but I also didn’t unpack my luggage the first 3 months, because I was thinking that I would be leaving at any moment. And so I stayed for 5 years.
I ended up in a completely unknown city – Ningbo, Zhejiang (200 km from Shanghai) and in Ningbo University, where 3 years later I completed my MBA Master’s. My biggest adversity was learning Chinese, but the language fascinated me with its diversity, profundity and how interesting it could be. I was determined and although the language wasn’t included in my curriculum, I never passed on an opportunity to study it.
Each language is a “code” and only when we know this “code” we can truly comprehend the understandings of the locals. As I was progressing with learning the language, different doors began to open for me. At the beginning I was working as an English teacher for children, and after that as a model, an actor (In China they often seek innate people, non-professionals to promote different products and take part in advertising campaigns). Later I was receiving invitations to participate in TV talk shows, public presentations, etc. And at the end when I realized that there was a huge number of foreigners, that didn’t want to learn the language, but wanted a job, I became a freelance agent, recruiting people for different Chinese television, film and advertising projects.
Until 2017, as much as I tried to balance the duration of my stays in China and Bulgaria, those in China lasted longer. Since then I decided to flip the coin and make Bulgaria my starting point. Returning here for a longer period of time, my main goal was to convey/take as many people as possible to the “Tianxia” (“Empire under the sky” as Chinese used to call their homeland), with its culture, traditions, customs, because it is mysterious, vast and infinitely fascinating.