It’s been a few months since I’ve written a blog post, mostly because every few weeks when I start writing something, I end up deciding it isn’t good enough or just isn’t right. I may return to a couple of them and see if I can make anything from them, but for the moment I think I’ll just reflect on the past seven weeks back in China.

I will admit I was not very eager to come back to China at first. Remembering how much I missed home, I was a little begrudging at the thought of leaving again. However, I managed to hug my mum goodbye at the airport, and get on a plane again. (I mean there was mild amounts of tears and when I say tears, it was probably more like strange stifled sobbing which caused people kept looking at me funny.) Once back in China, I fell back into a routine fairly quickly. Actually managing to be and stay awake for 8:30am start classes has been pretty great, as I feel like I spent most of last semester adjusting, and therefore constantly tired. I got a single room this semester too, which meant a little more freedom in my schedule. Although I do miss my roommate and the comfort of having someone else sharing the same space who you could talk to practically 24/7. Classes are harder, but I’m getting there. As my mum would say, it’s all coming together.

I began work as a website manager at the beginning of April, which was both exciting and terrifying. It’s a great job, expanding my technical skills as well as allowing me to become more financially independent. I got the hang of it fairly quickly, with some very helpful advice from a great master of tech (thank you, dad), and once I got to grips, it’s actually been a lot of fun. I get to use my creativity, hone my intuition, and practice working with websites and digital media, which in my book is pretty awesome. I also managed to sort out my plans for my summer job, sadly starting a week later than I’d like, but I unfortunately can’t help when my exams are. Even with the late start, I can’t wait to go back to my summer job, it’ll be about 6 weeks of non stop work, but I feel so fulfilled by the end of it. So in the work aspect of life, things are going pretty awesome.

On there other side of the work scale however, is uni work, and that tends to leave me with more stress than I care to admit. I know I need a better revision schedule, and I’m working on that, but my main issue is the vicious cycle of stress. It roughly goes like this: A piece of work stresses me out because I think it’s going to be challenging, therefore I put it off because I think I can just deal with it later. Yet the more I put it off the more stressed I get, so I have to try and relax myself so I can deal with the work that’s causing the stress. However, by trying to relax myself I’m still not doing the work, so the relaxing isn’t effective, which forces me to do the work. Which then stresses me out because I worry it’s not good enough. And then I go back round to the beginning again…
Just thinking about it all makes my head hurt. This goes on until a certain amount of time before the thing is due (depending on the size of work, how difficult I think it will be to do, and the actual due date) then I end up busting out the work, proof reading it, and submitting it actually fairly content, all the time having to force myself to breath deeply and ignore the slight feeling of nausea deep in my stomach… In the end, I always get it done, and it’s never as bad as I think it will be. I just build it up in my mind until it’s this unconquerable beast, when really it’s probably a lot smaller than I make it to be. I am yet to find a way to conquer my stress demon, but I’m always trying to. Finding a way to just start is the first aim, once I’m there it’s all just powering through.

Moving on from my stress bunny self, I should probably mention I went to Inner Mongolia. (Hence the the camel photo.) Cause that was pretty damn cool. In the desert I rode a camel and on the back of a quad bike, and I also went horse riding in the grasslands. It was an amazing experience to say the least. We even got to go to the Inner Mongolian Museum in Hohhot which was so interesting. The dinosaur exhibit, as well as the exhibits on the traditions and culture of the grasslands was fascinating. Sadly I didn’t take as many photographs as I wanted to, but I made some memories I certainly won’t forget, and I’m pretty sure that’s what counts.

Looking forward, I only have 12 weeks left here in China and I aim to make the most of it. I have some plans for a documentary I want to start filming next month if I can get enough people involved, and I really want to get out spending more time on my photography. Of course classes are the main focus for me, as improving my language level, as well as my confidence using it, is something I really want to develop. However, along the way though I’ll have plenty of time for fun, too. I’m especially excited to see Wicked (sorry, couldn’t help myself there… I mean, it’s Wicked!) at the Beijing Tianqiao Performing Arts Centre before I leave, which will be epic. So overall, it’s mostly positives. Yes, homesickness is still a thing, but it’s not long at all until I’m home, (and come on, how often do you get to live in China!?). And sure, work perpetually stresses me out, but it ends up absolutely fine every time, to the point I wonder why I was even stressed in the first place. So overall, I’d say my year abroad is, and hopefully will continue to be, pretty awesome. More than anything, you end up learning a lot about yourself. One thing for me is that although I really love adventure, I definitely enjoy coming home at the end of the day to tell my friends and family about it. Luckily for me, video chat is a thing these days, so catching up isn’t as hard as it was for my mum some number of years ago when she did her year abroad. (See mum, I didn’t say how many years, you can’t get annoyed at me.) So I end this long winded conclusion with this:
Life is pretty stressful, but it is what you make of it. So enjoy it the best you can, work as hard as you can, and be as patient, understanding, and compassionate as you can, because you can’t ask more of yourself than that.

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