Happy Halfway Everyone! As of last Sunday, I have officially hit the halfway mark for my stay here in China. Since my blog posts keep getting further and further apart, mostly due to my increasingly busy schedule, I thought I would take some time to sit down and really reflect on what it has been like being in China.
Overall, I would have to say that being in China has been a bitter-sweet experience. Being thrown into a culture so different from my own, I can honestly say that the first week was a struggle for me. All I could think about was wanting to go home to the familiar. It didn’t help that my body refused to adjust to the food and the environment for the first week and thus, my dreams were haunted with images of cheeseburgers and clean air. Despite this rough beginning, I slowly began to adjust to the ways of life and to my surprise, I found myself actually having fun. It seemed so easy to slip into the daily life of the Chinese people that at times, I almost forgot I was in a different country. Of course, there were times when I wanted nothing more than to hop on the next jet home, even if it was just to visit for a short time. These moments seem to occur when I found myself in a stressful situations such as being sick, having to get my visa fixed or simply being overwhelmed by the amount of homework that suddenly seemed to appear. I think the hardest thing that I have had to deal with is frustration with myself. I have let too many great opportunities pass me by because I was too afraid let myself go. I am very conservative by nature and putting myself out there has always been a demon of mine. I promised myself that I would be the person who I have always wanted to be while I am here but thus far, I have not lived up to my own expectations. I can only hope that within these next few weeks I will be able to find the resolve within myself to be what I want to be and to do what I want to do. As it was said in some movie somewhere, failure is not an option.
Now, enough with the bitter and here come the sweets. I have met some amazing people here in China. People that I hope I will be able to stay in contact with for a long time. The one thing I really have picked up on here in China is that having friends to spend time with when you are down in the dumps seems to lighten the load. Secondly, I have seen some amazing places here in China and I have learned so much. My biggest regret thus far in this trip has been that I spent too much time worrying about getting homework done or worrying about having time to relax and forgetting that I am in a foreign country, one that I may not get to see again for a long time. I have five weeks left before I leave on my two week train trip around China. I am determined to not let the opportunity to explore slip through my fingers. I want to see every corner of Beijing that I can in the short amount of time that I have left. I have even gone as far as to create a list of places to visit and things to do before I leave. I have about ten things on that list and I am determined to do them all! Now, once again, it is time to turn my attention back to homework. I still have to finish preparing a half an hour lecture on how the financial crisis affected emerging economies. To all of you teachers out there, I don’t know how you do it. Preparing just a half an hour lecture is a lot of work, I can’t imagine preparing lectures for an entire day worth of class. Wish me luck!
Until next time,