I’ve almost forgotten what it sounds like, silence. In the hustle and bustle of Beijing, there quietness is hard to find. From the beeps, peeps, and hums of cars outside my window, to the whirl of my fan, there isn’t much quiet to be found around here. Purely the population size should have clued me in to the fact ambient noise was going to be constant, but there is a complete lack of lull at any time, day or night. Whereas in my room at home, it gets to about 8pm and the most noise I’ll ever get is a rain storm outside, and I find those soothing, so I’m kinda missing the peace and quiet at this point.
I am one of those people who cannot sleep unless there is quiet. Some noises I can abide, traffic I can just about deal with, it becomes a faint background noise. My fan I deal with partly because my room is slowly become more of a sauna than a bedroom, and partly because, again, it’s a kind of background noise I can just try to tune out. However snoring, people talking, loud music… That’s a different story. To give you an example, when I first got back to China I was in a shared room. My roommate from last semester moved out as she had to go on to the next part of her year abroad, so I was to get a new roommate. Now don’t get me wrong, she was lovely, I had no problem with her, that what made me feel bad. She snored. Loudly. The first night I slept maybe two hours and felt like death the next day. The second night I couldn’t take it any more, moved my bedding into the en-suit bathroom, and slept on the floor with the door shut. She was pretty confused the next morning when I came out the bathroom with pillows and a duvet, giant bags under my eyes and a general look of pain on my face. I moved out that afternoon… It wasn’t her fault, and she apologised for my lack of sleep, but there was no way I could have done that for four months. I will never take silence for granted again, trust me.
Yet silence is something I generally miss, too. If I’m trying to study, or write, or just relax, it’s nice to have quiet and chill surroundings. Here that’s a little more difficult. You’d have to go out to one of the big parks at some off peak time to try and find somewhere quiet, I think. I play music in my room with the logic that if I can’t get quiet, I can at least listen to something I enjoy. This isn’t as productive to work as I’d like however, as eventually a song will come on that I just have to sing to, and then ensues a 5 minute tangent of me bopping around my room “tidying”, cause hey, I totally deserve to take a quick break right now… Anyway, you see my point, with noise come distraction, and I can be kind of easily distracted when it comes to trying to read large passages of Chinese after a full morning of class. (Still 8:30am-12:30am most days, however I do get first periods on Wednesday and Friday off now, so I get to lie in until 9:30am which is awesome.)
So that’s another thing that makes me look forward to going home, along with missing my friends and family, and my mum’s cooking. At first it felt like I was going to be here forever, then suddenly I have only eleven weeks left and I’m not quite sure how to fit everything in before I go. It doesn’t help I’ve pretty much wasted this past week because I’ve had a bad cold either. So trying to get back on track and get through my to do list will be a bit of a challenge, but I know if I don’t make the most of my time here, I really will regret it. (Slight tangent, I know, sorry.) So although there are things about here that compared to home I don’t like as much, China is a really amazing country that I need to explore as much as I can before I leave. After all, just over two months isn’t a long time in the grande scheme of things.