Hello again everyone!! This will be my last entry for the China blog as I am currently on a flight back to the USA! After I get home and rejoin Stella and Charlie the blog will return to its original “Three’s a Crowd” format. I hope you all enjoyed following me around Asia these last 8ish months and will keep reading because the adventure of life never stops!! I hope to talk to and see you all very soon! Xoxo
Ok so here’s the scoop: Mid November I gave notice that although I enjoyed my work I had had enough of China and would be returning to the USA as soon as I could do so. My company was very kind and understanding and immediately put in a request for a replacement teacher from Shanghai. I spent my Christmas working and training the new guy at work (who is a far better teacher than I, and I am confidant he will do fabulously with my/now his kiddos...you go Reggie!). No festivities were had but I didn’t mind because on December 27th my dear friend Jessica arrived. We were joyfully reunited at the Beijing airport after being apart for more than a year. Jessica and I lived together in college and every once in awhile she pops back into my life to remind me just how wonderful it truly is. It was good to see you girl!
We started our adventures off as we always do: laughing and catching up. We then spent 5 days in Beijing, playing, shopping, getting lost, walking, and just being tourists in general. We visited all the usual sights and had an excellent time together. We got messages, ate many superb meals, took many photos and explored countless parks and interesting places. Yahoo!
After the hustle and bustle of Beijing began to wear us down, we hopped a train back to Tianjin, where we rang in the New Year with my roommate Alina and our friend Nerrisa. Let me tell you, the four of us did New Years Eve how it ought to be done…in China at least…We started with a dinner buffet at a Chinese barbeque, and on the way home Alina stopped to buy some treats…and by some, I mean enough sweets to feed an army…for a month… We then sat around and shared what we wanted out of this year, what we did last year and what new years traditions took place in our home countries (Alina is Russian and Nerissa is Indonesian). At midnight we had some wine, some cheers and some wishes and called it a night. Perfect.
January 1st started the year off in the best possible way as Jessica and I went sledding on Tianjin’s frozen river. We rented an ice sled (aka a piece of plywood with blades on the bottom and wooden chairs bolted on top…) and went zooming around the frozen river. In a span of about 30 minutes we skidded, crashed, ran, pushed each other, and generally tore it up until we were both laughing so hard I could scarcely breathe! Afterward we walked aimlessly around the city until our legs were tired enough to fall off, before heading home for a dinner of dumpling and a movie. The next few days I finished up at work while Jessica explored China on her own including a trip all the way to the Great Wall. You’re the bomb girl!! Way to go without even getting lost ;)
My exceptional coworkers held a farewell dinner for me on my last day where we said our good byes and Reggie was officially knighted Beicheng’s new full time English teacher. Good luck sir!!
The last 24 hours in town I walked around all my favorite places and had dinner with my roommate before heading to the airport with Jess. It was very fitting for us to leave China together and although I was relieved to go I still had a few sweet moments of reminiscing on the way.
I hear fellow foreigners say China is a dirty and backwards place, and maybe from a Western prospective it seems to be so, however it is this immense culture gap witch makes it such an interesting place. It also makes it incredibly hard, in my opinion, to straddle such length. I met people who were able to make the transition with apparent ease and enjoyed life there very much, but I am not one of them. I felt I could not find my place and constantly struggled with being “on the outside”. Maybe that doesn’t make any sense, but it’s the best way I can describe it at this time.
Maybe I left too soon. Maybe I didn’t really give it a chance. Maybe I was too judge mental. All these things are possible, but I as I fly away from the country of stuffed buns and cheap goods, I find I don’t much care. I have decided not to return, probably ever to China. This world is far too vast and too rich for my body and soul to waste away under the polluted skies and oppressive city horizon of Tianjin. I will find my way another place. For now I will go home to this.