This coming Thursday the temperature is supposed to go up to 38°C in Beijing, and as a Scotswoman I am not built for this kind of heat. As we edge into summer I have resorted to bringing a “ice cushion” (it’s basically a giant ice pack, but it has cute penguins on it) to class to keep me cool, and recently purchased a fan attachment that plugs into my phone. Yes, I am that weak. Thankfully I have plenty going on to keep my mind off the scorching heat.

I am going to Shanghai this week, and I am so excited! Having never been to Shanghai before I can’t wait to explore the city for three days and see it all (or at least as much as you can see in three days). I’m also looking forward to seeing some of my friends there who are also doing their year abroad. It will be good to catch up after not seeing them for months. While there I would also love to go to the Shanghai Disneyland, but I’m not so sure I’ll have time. (I have been to Disneyland Paris, but I was very young and too short to go on most of the rides, so childhood me is holding a tiny grudge about missing out on roller-coasters.) Whatever happens though, I am just happy I’m getting the chance to go, as it’s a much needed break amongst classes, essays, and exams.

Then at the end of the month I am going to see Wicked for the first time. I cannot put into words how elated I am at finally getting to go! After hearing so much about, I can’t believe I’m getting to see it myself, and in Beijing no less. Yet another thing to look forward to during the next few crazy weeks.

I am also working on a documentary at the moment. The aim is to get practically all filmed before I go home, with the exception of a few things that I’ll have to wait to get when I’m back in the UK. There are parts I still need to finish fleshing out, but the main body of it is planned, I just need to find out when the people I’m interviewing are free to film. I have my fingers crossed it will all go well, but with it being my first documentary, and technically my first professional film work, not counting my summer job or uni projects, I’m dubious that it’ll just go without a hitch. That won’t stop me from trying however, and I have enough self-confidence that what doesn’t work I can figure out along the way. (Sounds promising, doesn’t it…)

So with all this under my belt and more, it is probably quite evident that my stress levels are all over the place. Trying to fit everything I possibly can into my last two months here means life is a little hectic for me at the moment. Especially when I’m also trying to prepare for next year (my final year of uni) and everything that comes with it. With my dissertation and extended research project ideas changing constantly, preparing myself to be the editor of my university newspaper, and just the fact that in a year’s time I graduate,  it all becomes a lot to process. Don’t get me wrong, I’m excited for my final year, and in many ways I look forward to it, that won’t stop it being stressful though!

Focusing on the now is something I find easier said than done, but right now I am doing my best to enjoy it all as it comes. We went hiking up 玉渡山 (Yudu Mountain) last weekend, and it was amazing. As much as I’m unfit and going up hill was hard, the view was so worth it (hence the header image). (I uploaded more photos to viewbug if anyone wants to have a look. That’s where I upload all my favourite photographs that I have taken, photography being one of my most satisfying hobbies.) Anyway, being up in the mountains, seeing for miles, and just enjoying the immense amount of green around me, was just breathtaking. Enjoying moments like that, however brief, amongst all the hectic hustle and bustle of life, is very important to me. It may have taken me longer than everyone else to get up that mountain, but I did it, and I won’t forget the experience, because the quiet moments amidst all the noise and chaos are few and far between.

With so much going on and so much to look forward to, I often feel quite knocked off my feet. I am constantly reminded how brief and crazy life is, and how lucky I am to be where I am now (mentally and physically). A year abroad is an amazing and wild experience, and not without its ups and downs. Sometimes it feels like there are more downs than ups, but in the end I know it’s all worth it. As I near the end of the home straight, I reflect more and more on this past year, and know I’ve grown as a person and will continue to. So although I may moan about 38°C weather, and the fact literally all my shoes are worn inside from the amount of walking I’ve done, this year has been good for me in so many ways. I encourage anyone with the opportunity to, or with the desire to, go on a year abroad to do so. It’ll be hard, probably most of the time, but it’s so worth it. And hey, you might even get to see Wicked!

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