Thursday, May 21, 2015

musings from beijing

In the five months since my last update, I've been adjusting. Adjusting to my choices. Adjusting to Beijing. Adjusting to my expectations.

I'll be blunt. Exchange has not been what I expected. I've spent the past few months lowering those expectations and treating the experience as a learning curve. Exchange at Tsinghua has managed to solidly stomp on my previous excitement and lulled it to constant thoughts of regret.

I entered China with an understanding of it - I interned in Beijing last year for two months. Somehow in the space of a year, China's changes has made the small things I take for granted difficult. Google has been blocked. I cannot access my email account without a VPN. I can't use Translate to help me translate Chinese. I can't access Maps. I can't access the Play Store on my phone.

I have to use Bing. (This is a game-changer.)

I've been getting over myself in the past few months. I spent too much time feeling sad or angry or a combination of the two. Maybe it's because I can see the end that I'm feeling more cheerful. Or maybe the weather's just been better.

These days I'm trying to enjoy the small experiences. Maybe I'll even go back to Wangfujing Snack Street and eat some scorpions. But probably not!


  1. Oh no! What were your expectations of exchange and what is the reality? Regrets about what? Your decision to go on exchange or simply picking China?

    1. I expected living on campus and doing a lot of traveling with mates - the campus dormitory conditions have been disappointing and uni bureaucracy wouldn't let me change rooms. And somehow, for the first time, I've made friends with extremely unadventurous friends who don't want to go anywhere. I'm not completely sure to be honest. I think I gave up an opportunity in Sydney I'm not sure I can get after I get back.

    2. Missed opportunity? Life has a way of working itself out / presenting a new opporumtunity.

      Ha, sounds like my roommate on exchange. On the bright side, I guess you are only on a one semester exchange. May as well try to make the most of it now since you are on the final stretch!