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Thanksgiving Abroad

I know it’s an American holiday, and mostly its purpose is to put way too much food into you face hole. (That’s my favorite part at least!) but the point of Thanksgiving is to take a moment to talk about the things that you are thankful for that normally get taken for granted. Being abroad instead of at home with my family, has been both great and terrible at the same time. I get to appreciate so many things so much more than I would if I were home, but I miss those things even more because I’m here. In my classes on Thursday we went around the room explaining things that we were thankful for. So I thought I would do the same thing here.

-I’m thankful for my good health. Despite China’s best efforts to kill me with wild traffic, and pollution.

-I’m thankful for the supportive family and friends that talk with me every week so I don’t get depressed and homesick. These peeps are keeping my mind off being really bummed out when I want to go to home brew beer with my dad, eat a burrito and play with dogs.

-I’m thankful for the awesome staff at the university for always taking care of us even when they don’t always understand why we do what we do. They are so helpful and I wouldn’t be able to survive here without them. They’re the reason I get to do 80% of the cool stuff I get to do. This is Vivian KILLING IT with her skillful selfies.IMG_0220[1]

-I’m thankful that I have some of the best students ever and that I have the best times in the classroom. These dudes and ladies are by and large the best thing that’s happened to me in a long time. It’s like having 100 children of my own but they haven’t grown to resent me yet. I know I will miss them so bad when I go home.

IMG_0360-Most of all I’m thankful that I could have the opportunity to come to China and to have it blow my mind with new ideas and a new understanding of the world and how it works. It’s been a wild experience and I can’t believe I’ll be going home in a little over two months.

IMGP3111I’m also pretty darn thankful for Katie and that she was crazy enough to do this with me. She’s been such a trooper. She helps me out with damn near everything and makes sure I don’t accidentally kill myself 24/7. mad props, boo.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Routine

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.

20130710-234408.jpg5AM Morning Drills

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.

20130710-234717.jpg Metro Friends!

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.

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