It’s kind of crazy to think that I just handed in my grades for the first semester teaching English in China. It doesn’t feel like I’ve been here THAT long, but on the other hand it kind of does. My friend Melville once said that it doesn’t really matter where you go in the world, eventually you’ll fall into a routine and things will feel normal. While I don’t think he was trying to be particularly philosophical, that idea stuck with me.
While growing up, I thought it would be so exotic to live in a foreign country and see the world. I still feel a little bit this way or else I wouldn’t be here. But, I’ve realized that, like Mel said, once you buckle down and start living somewhere it’s all kind of the same. You still have to pay rent, you still need to think about what you’re going to eat for dinner and you still have to work. Even if no one can understand a word you’re saying.
When I first moved to Shenyang back in February, I was constantly bewildered by how different everything is from my home. From the flashy night signs, delicious fruit and other fried food street vendors to the psychopathic street crossings and above all ENORMOUS crowds of people.
It’s funny when I think back on it and how those things are a part of my everyday life now. I love street vendor food health codes be damned. I still love business signs wildly illuminating the streets. I’m even fearless in the face of oncoming traffic rolling 2+ wide in the wrong lane. Hell, crammed what feels like 100 people over capacity on the metro doesn’t even make me flinch.
Of course I still have to pay rent(kind of), of course I have to wonder what’s for dinner, and obviously I’m working. But it’s not boring. Life is really weird here and it doesn’t stop. Once you teach yourself to embrace the weird, life gets a lot easier here.
Things are finally settling in and China feels more like home now. Life isn’t nearly as exotic as I imagined growing up, but I’ll never look at my life the same way before I left.