Biggest news in my life right now: I’ve decided and have been approved to stay in China for another year.
The idea of staying for two instead of one year has been on my mind since last September, when I met the second year fellows of my program. We were all in Hong Kong for orientation, and talking with them revealed their obvious reflection on lessons learned in their first year as well as their anticipation for the coming year. I envied that. I wanted one day to have learned how to live and teach in China and then, be able to apply those lessons to a longer period of time than the lesser half of a year as has happened as I started my second semester here. However, I think the lessons learned and ideas developed over a year are exponentially greater than those learned over a semester.
So – America – I’m sorry. I will be home in July (for Wildwood!) and the beginning of August, but my permanent return has been slightly postponed. Plans for the summer include living in Beijing with my good friend and fellow traveler Lea Yu, volunteering at a public health/health-related nonprofit, adventuring in the city, avoiding heat exhaustion playing lots and lots of ultimate, speaking Chinese, and trying out new social situations to see how to successfully interact with different groups/types of people.
What have I been doing over the past 4(?!?) months?
In February, I returned to Changsha from a whirlwind two months of traveling. My entire trip took me to many places: Xiuning, Anhui; Shanghai, Shanghai; Beijing, Beijing; Chicago, IL; Somewhere on a hill, WI; Lexington, KY; Knoxville, TN; Washington, D.C; back to Chicago; back to Beijing; Harbin, Helongjiang; Tianjin, Tianjin;and Ansha, Hunan.
It was so refreshing and…weird for many parts. Being transitory while surrounding myself with very grounded people (with work, school, family, life) was a strange and constant juxaposition throughout those two months. In an email, I told my mom that I was looking forward to getting my feet back on the ground after returning to Changsha. She lamented the idea that my “ground” was now Changsha, but was sympathetic to my wandering soul.
I went on a few adventures over the past few months and I’ll detail those in individual posts.