Well folks, it’s that time of year! No no no, not the time of year where the leaves start falling off the trees and there’s pumpkin everything and it’s colorful and it’s time to bust out your scarves, boots, tights, and long-sleeves. Nooooope, not that time of year. Over here in Asia it’s what we like to call (and by “we” I mean “me”) the Stupid Annoying Whycan’tIjustbeanormalperson Ihateeverythingallthetimeeveryday Peoplesuckeverywhere Angstangstangst Homesickness Slump.
To be completely honest, I’m really annoyed at myself that I’m even experiencing even the slightest bit of slump. After having lived in a foreign country for an entire year before, I really anticipated coming to China and not really experiencing any kind of annoyances or homesickness, because what’s 4 months in China in comparison to the 11 that I spent in Thailand?
So yeah, I’m a little homesick. Let’s make a list of a few things I miss.
- My friends
- My family (mommy, daddy, brudder, seester, dog)
- Chocolate shakes
- Being at University of Illinois in the fall
- Apple cider
- My soft bed at home
- Getting lots of hugs and love from all of my AIESEC friends because they’re just the huggy type
- Being around people who just generally understand me, who I am, and what I believe in
To combat that list, let’s make a list of a few things I’ve been enjoying.
- Chinese food (Chinese style eating; stir-fried food; street food)
- Using chopsticks
- Speaking and improving my Chinese
- Meeting new people
- Being in a really big city with lots and lots to do!
- Having endless opportunities in terms of food and nightlife
- Learning about Chinese history and politics
And to better understand the disconnect and why I’m not fully enjoying the aforementioned list as much as you probably think I should, here is a list of a few things that have been annoying me:
- Traveling anywhere takes forever. As convenient as public transportation is, it would be really nice if I could go anywhere in under 20 minutes. It takes 20 minutes just to get to the subway station. And THEN another 20-40 on top of that to get somewhere else. SHANGHAI, YOU’RE TOO BIG.
- With that being said, I haven’t done as much sightseeing or traveling within Shanghai as I’d like to, simply because I know the travel time alone will have to be more than an hour in most circumstances. When I have homework and other things to attend to, it really doesn’t make much sense to go too far away from home. Which is a BUMMER.
- Not having sandwiches!
- Finding a good place to study that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg (there are LOTS of cafes in the area, but somehow everyone seems to think that cafes are fancy and should cost a lot of money, so just to get some tea or iced chocolate or something simple still costs about $5…. pretty steep for China in my opinion, especially when you can buy tea from the convenience store for ~$1.50, and an entire MEAL or even TWO meals for $5, depending where you go).
- In general, just realizing that people (on my program) don’t know me super super well, and in order to make friends you really do have to make an effort and open up and try and talk and be interesting and be interested in others etc etc etc; NOT that I’m not interested in doing that, it’s just hard to do ALL THE TIME, and sometimes it would be nice to not have to. Even though I love everyone on my program and they’re all really cool. It would just be nice to not have to explain for once about why I think University of Illinois is awesome even though it’s in the middle of nowhere, what I was doing in Thailand, how my brother has Down’s Syndrome, etc etc etc; things in my life that my good friends back home just inherently know, so that if I make a reference to them it’s not weird.
- The sudden realization that I am actually a senior in college and I have no EFFING idea what I’m going to do with my life after I graduate (that’s another post in and of itself; YIKES!)
- Last but not least, my apartment still has its annoying defects that have more or less not gone away (the breaker that always decides to switch off… the one that’s connected to my A/C and hot water; the smell of the bathroom; the ease of dust accumulation; the lack of a dryer), and as much as they’re not really a big deal, it is sometimes an annoyance to deal with at the end of a long day of Chinese learning and blahblahblah stuff.
So yeah, I’ve definitely hit a bit of a homesickness slump. Although slightly annoying, it’s also totally to be expected and honestly I know I’ll be over it in no time. Thankfully, it has nicely decided to coincide with the WEEKEND (!!!), as well as the National Holiday next week (where everyone in China goes home and gets the day off, etc.), and only a WEEK from SATURDAY we’ll be off on our trip to Qinghai and Tibet. Hellz yeah.
picture VIDEO of a puppy to make you (and me) feel a lot better.
I promise for a much more interesting and wonderful update this weekend, after I have (hopefully) accomplished a few more things.