Study Abroad

The End is Near…

Wow, I can’t believe how much time has passed since I last wrote. I also can’t believe how close to being done with this experience I am, it’s an odd feeling that I’m having trouble describing. I can say that I am greatly looking forward to seeing how much living abroad has changed my perspectives and myself as a whole. I don’t feel I’ve changed much, but I also feel like I’ve changed so much I’ve become a different person. Again, it’s an odd feeling and an answer I won’t get until I re enter the life I left when I got on that plane three and half months ago. The only clear emotions I have right now are excitement and anxiety; an appropriate combination.

It is truly astonishing how much you discover about yourself when you study abroad. I had heard and read many stories about this beforehand coming to China, but it is truly something you have to experience to understand. This is where my excitement is rooted. My anxiety comes from the impending reverse culture shock I will undoubtedly have to face. One important thing I’ve learned is culture shock effects everyone differently. At no point during my time here did I feel so overwhelmed by homesickness that I wanted to give. No, instead I felt a type of rage I had never experienced prior. It was frightening how angry I would get at times; being in a foreign country made it hard to express how I was truly feeling. This only made things worse, and things stayed worse for longer than I care to admit. But through a lot of prayer and whining to family and friends, I was able to work through my issues and get back into the swing of things. 

Now here I am, merely weeks from boarding another plane and leaving a part myself here in China. I am not leaving the way I came and I am happy about that reality. I’m definitely ready to go home but China will always be part of my life and has a place in my future.

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Study Abroad

Growing Pains

As I approach the two month mark, which is the official halfway point of my time in Beijing, I am starting to feel the growing pains. Part of this is due to my lack of homesicknesses the first weeks of my time here; it hit me like a ton of bricks and all at once. I am convinced I’m in the late stages of homesicknesses though, I feel like I shouldn’t be going through the feelings I’m currently experiencing until I am home.

In the two months that I have been in charge of my own life, I have discovered a few very significant things about myself. I am able to live apart from my family and friends, I just prefer not to. I have a level of patience and self control I was not aware of, and most importantly I am in love with God. I knew I loved God before I ever got into this program, but I’ve fallen in love which is totally different experience. This is where the growing pains have started, ┬áin falling in love with Christ I have begun to find less and less need for things I used to desire to fill me. There is no longer that void in my life, which has made me incredibly joyful and sorrowful. Growing up isn’t just about getting older, it’s about choosing the path you want to walk down. My path is carry on only and not everything that is currently in my life is coming with me. When I go home the woman I am now, I’m sure where I will fit. I’m not scared of what is coming, but that doesn’t make letting go easier.

Dorm Life, Study Abroad

1 Month Update

It has been awhile, but I can proudly say I have survived my first month abroad! It seems like after the second week ended time began to fly by and before I knew it (and believe me I’ve been counting) it was mid March. I feel like I’m in the twilight zone most of the time, and Beijing is fourteen hours ahead of my home town; I’m literally living in the future.

In the couple week since I’ve written quite a few things have happened that I believe are worth sharing, prepare yourself because where there are six strangers living together, there is drama. Let’s start with the good. When applying for this trip I knew that I would spend my twentieth birthday in Beijing, but when the day actually arrived I was genuinely sad when I woke up here instead of home. That’s not a very positive way to look at things but I don’t care, I was born on Saint Patrick’s Day and I’m used to everyone in Denver wearing green and being merry! That was not the case this year, Saint Patrick’s Day is a Christian holiday, therefore it is not celebrated here. That made me really angry and I felt oddly numb. I know I’m now twenty but it did not feel like my birthday, and if I hadn’t made a vow not to cry for the duration of my time here I would have been bawling. By now I’m sure you’re thinking what could possibly have been good about this? Nothing, until my older sister pointed out that my age changed multiple times in one day. Allow me to explain, I was born March 17 at 3:40 p.m. And seeing that Beijing is fourteen hours ahead I was still nineteen at midnight here because I was born on Denver time. So I turned twenty, then nineteen, and back to twenty. I don’t care if that logic doesn’t make sense because it’s the only thing that made me happy on my birthday abroad.

Now to the bad…

Anyone who has seen MTV’s Real World knows that  living with strangers is not really an episode of Friends. It’s amazing how in only a month people can get so familiar with someone they don’t really know. This is currently my issue, my roommate got too familiar. Let me just say that this person is very sweet, smart, and generally a good person in my opinion. But she was raised in a way that was obviously very different that my upbringing, because this girl talks to people however she wants. If I acted all free speech like she does my parents would have already disowned me. I know this isn’t how all white people were raised but my goodness what is it that makes so many white children think this behavior is ok?! I’m shocked when she asks me questions sometimes. As we can all see in my profile picture I’m black, and there are things you just don’t inquire about. At night I have to wrap my hair up and the way my roommate looked at me was both irritating and hilarious. I know there are some black women who don’t care if you ask them stupid questions about their hair, but I am not one of them. You can look, but don’t touch it and don’t ask me questions about what I’m doing with it. Very simple. And that brings us to the next and last issue of this update. I hate being asked questions. I know that seems dramatic or unreasonable, but when you’ve grown up listening to people ask the dumbest things ever, you develop an intolerance for the unnecessary BS. I expected a lot of questions form the native students I go to school with, but I really hoped the Americans I came with knew better. The first week I understand we’re getting to know each other and people forget things and have to ask again, but we are an entire month into this and people continue to ask me the same crap over and over! I’m so close to just throwing a glass of hot tea on somebody it’s not even funny, and tea is served devil’s butt hole hot over here so someone would get hurt. Ok, I’m stopping, see you next time.