你好 all the way from Beijing. It's been exactly a week since I touched down in the land of thick smog/ fog skies, burning heat, cheap street food and a perfectly functioning public transport system despite the ridiculous amount of people living in this city (up your game Sydney). Last week I was dying to go home after suffering from the culture shock, language barrier and everyone mistaking me as a native Chinese speaker. The number of times I was asked for directions (or perhaps they were trying to sell me something, who knows? I couldn't understand anyone of them) and I would just stand their lost for words and walk in the other direction. I had them baffled. I could barely check into my accommodation, let alone ask why my electricity wasn't working. The first few days were a struggle on my own. I thought I was a lost cause.
We started class on Tuesday and I have to say my attitude has changed significantly. I'm piping up in class, asking questions and speaking aloud (though my stutter/ broken Chinglish is rather unimpressive). I've finally made a breakthrough. Willing to make a fool of myself in the hope of improving. And I'm relieved to say it's slowly working.
It's still so surreal waking up in a completely different country without the comfort of my friends and family and my usual surroundings. I love the exchange student life. Class in the morning, gym after class, sight seeing (subtext: shopping mall tour of Beijing) in the afternoon and eating out with friends for dinner. The thrill of exploring the unknown and the freedom to do whatever I want and an actual weekend to relax. This is the experience I have hoped for and more.
I'm off to Sanlitun this evening for yet another trip to the Nike Store (I can't escape it) and a celebratory TGIF dinner. Conveniently my dorm has provided us with white sheets (did they know I was desperate to crank out some flat lays?) so expect some snippets of my purchases, photo diary and a little video of the week that was. 再见！