I am back! I am home! My China adventure has ended. I thought I would take a moment today to reflect on the experience, the ups and the downs, and see where I am in my life now.
What has going to China taught me? I have certainly learned to challenge myself, in every aspect of everything. I have challenged my independence, proved that I can do extraordinary, scary things by myself, and create fantastic experiences and memories for myself. I have challenged myself socially, by living with other people, entering into a new work environment, talking in front of large groups of people are working with children.
I don’t have one stand out experience that I can label as my best experience. However, I can say that it was an overall positive experience, which I am very happy about.
The first few days, and weeks were certainly a highlight, hanging out with my flatmates and realising that it wasn’t as scary as I thought it was going to be. We went out to eat, see the city, played cards at home, and generally had a really fun time. It was the first time in a while that I had properly laughed and enjoyed other people’s company.
I really enjoyed my second trip to Suzhou. Simply being alone, doing what I wanted to do when I wanted to do it, was a delight. I know I spend a lot of time alone, but there’s always the people I live with or work with there in the background, and in Suzhou it was just me. I loved having a hotel room that was all mine, and with an en suite so I didn’t really have to leave my room, and I enjoyed an evening vegging out and eating good food.
There were also many lovely moments with the children I was teaching. I particularly enjoyed the baby class, which was basically singing and dancing with adorable pre-school children, but it was nice being able to talk, play and laugh with older children as well. I thought I would really struggle to b confident enough in front of the kids, and while it took me a while to warm up, I eventually got there.
My worst experience was probably the situation that arose with a particular flatmate. I don’t want to go into too much detail, but it was over Christmas and New Year, when I was missing spending quality time with my family, and it exacerbated my feelings of melancholy. Overall, I was very lucky, and I think I have been cured of my fear of living with other people.
Not necessarily a bad experience, but something negative that turned out to be amazing was my second day in Nanjing. Nanjing was not my favourite trip. I was travelling by myself (because of the whole flatmate situation) and I felt down and unmotivated. On the second day, I got to Linggu temple, having not had a proper breakfast, as there were no places to eat near my hostel, and I was not enjoying myself. I was really questioning what the point of travelling was if I was just going to different places, taking photos, and leaving without having fun. However, when I got to Linggu pagoda, and climbed to the top, I looked out, and despite the smog and crap view I felt really happy. I realised that it was quite amazing that I had climbed to the top of this tower After that, I had a really great day simply looking at all the touristy things and living in the moment
That was China, so what’s now? I have realised being in China and being surrounded by bilingual people that speaking another language is both useful and rewarding. Sp, I am currently trying to relearn German, which will maybe lead to some trips to Germany, and maybe a job over there.
I also want to do some kind of course to tackle another one of my big anxieties: education. I have found a zoology course, and an ornithology course, that look interesting, now all I need to do is make a decision and go for it. Alongside all that, I am hoping to get a part time job to cover the cost of my education and maybe have a bit left over so I can travel.
China was amazing, and I feel that it really gave me perspective on my life and what I want to do. Now, I am looking forward to moving on and growing, and being happy. Here’s to the next chapter!