The end of the road

Trip Start Feb 27, 2013
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Trip End Ongoing


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Sunday, January 26, 2014

Re-reading over my very first blog for this trip, I can hardly believe how quickly this time has gone.   When I arrived in Beijing in late February, I was a bundle of nerves, apprehension, excitement and hope.  Now I'm leaving here, feeling a similar range of emotions for returning home.

Packing to go back home was quite exhausting.  Trying to pack my life up into a bag was really hard.  I have no idea how I'll cope when I have to move houses! I managed to do it, and be under my weight.  I gave away a lot of things to friends, just as friends did for me last semester.  It's a really nice thing that all the foreigners at uni look after each other, passing things on that won't go back home.

Closing my dorm door for the last time was a really surreal experience.  It was a tiny room where my roommate and I could reach each other from our beds, but it was mine, and it was my comfortable place.  I really loved that room, as much as I complained about the lack of space.

Saying good bye to friends was heartbreaking.  We bonded in a way that is impossible with others back home, because we all came alone, feeling the same, and went through the ups and downs of this experience together.  We lived in a bit of a bubble, where we looked to each other for support and shared some of the best memories.

I am so grateful for all the support I received while I was here, from both people in Beijing, but my family and friends back home as well.  Emily and Ian met me here on my first day, and helped me with the tasks I was most intimidated by; opening my bank account, registering me for classes, helping me register for my dorm.  Since then, nearly every weekend they have invited me to join them on so many fun activities.  They took it upon themselves to show me the best of Beijing, and thanks to them, I have been to most of the parks around the city, the cinemas, to Shidu, museums and more restaurants than I can name.  They were my Aunty and Uncle figures here, and I relied on them for so much help and guidance while I was here.

Rebecca and Sammy have been friends for years, and have always been so important every time we’ve come to Beijing, and this year was certainly no exceptions.  I only have to think back to last night, when they drove around for an hour to find a pharmacy to get some medication for poor Hayley, who is a little unwell at the moment.  They invited me to join their friendship group for dinners and skiing, and were also there every time I needed to ask them something.  Rebecca helped me a lot with my visas, especially after I was offered a job at the Holiday Inn, and was on hand to sort out the visa issues there.  Sammy was such a great help in helping me organise my trip to Harbin, when I couldn’t book anything because I didn’t have a credit card.

My parents back home have always been only a call away, and my dad has organized so many things for me here from back home, so I never had to worry.  I am also thankful for the suitcases of necessities that they brought over every time they came.  I am very appreciative that they did come so many times.  I had friends who hadn’t seen their family in one and a half years, but I was lucky enough to have a visitor every few months (not sure if that was for my sake or mum and dad’s ;)).


This year in China has taught me so much more than just the language.   I have made such amazing, close friends that have taught me about their own cultures in such a personal way.  I don’t think many other people can say they have friends from every single inhabited continent; Europe, South America, North America, Australasia, Asia, Africa, and I can’t wait to have the opportunity to see everybody again soon.  I can’t imagine an opportunity in Melbourne to live with a Uruguayan, with American and Russian friends next door, and share a class with French, Indonesian, Korean, Canadian, South African, Japanese and so many more people.  I will miss my roommate Pia terribly. Living in a shoebox with someone could be a really testing experience, but we worked well together.  She taught me bits and pieces of Spanish, and every morning would start with 'beunos dias' and end with 'buenas noches'. I talked to her every single day about anything and everything and I will miss having her near me all the time. I'll miss my close, close friend Margaux, who I was in constant communication with. Every day chatting starting from in bed in the morning and ending in bed at night. I have no idea how it will be back home not having her there with me. I'll miss Vesliana, who I think helped me the most with my Chinese, as we talked exclusively in Chinese, as she has been speaking it since she was little. I'll miss all my friends, as they all contributed to me having the most enjoyable experience.

I'm also really grateful for those of you who put aside time in your busy lives to read this little blog of mine.  I loved sharing my experiences, and it was good for me to reflect every week or so what I had been up to, what I liked, what I didn't, and it helped me to remember my time better.I’m also very blessed to have such wonderful extended family back home.  Special thanks Uncle Pete for messaging me every week or so, and Nanna for your emails,  I felt so loved even when I was so far away.  Out of sight, not out of mind it seems, and I am so grateful for that.

I really am struggling to put into words exactly how I am feeling now, as I sit at the airport in Beijing, waiting for my plane home.  I feel really sad and reflective that such an amazing opportunity has been completed, but I also feel excited for the challenges that await me back home.  I heard that once you get really comfortable, it is time to move on to the next test, and I think I am ready for a really tough academic year ahead.

I will miss a lot about China.  I will miss seeing the Birds Nest stadium when I’m sitting in the back of a taxi, I will miss the foreign community where everyone acts as family in lieu of our blood family back home, I will miss the ability to wear absolutely anything, and have a feeling that nobody will care.  I will miss the cheap food, the cheap transport, the cheap clothes.  I will miss speaking Chinglish, the funny signs, the weekend adventures. 

Beijing, it’s been good.  Let’s do this again sometime….
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Comments

Joan Jay on

So very glad you had such a great time and made so many friends. It certainly was a "once in a lifetime opportunity" and you seem to have made the best of it. Well done Amy, but so pleased to have you home again...love nanna

kovacsfamily
kovacsfamily on

Awww Amy, I read this entry with tears in my eyes. I am so glad for the amazing opportunities you have had. I have loved reading all of your entries, they bring a smile to my face or make me feel very jealous of the places you have been to and that I hope to visit one day. Welcome home!!! Hope to see you soon.

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