I’m writing this at 4 am because I am super jetlagged and can’t fall back asleep haha. I got back on Nov 4th and right now it’s the morning the 7th so I’ve been back for about 3 days. As I unpacked my suitcase I began to reminisce about all the places I had been while I was in China. I saw my Beijing souvie and laughed because now I’ll forever be reminded of the time I got poisoned at the Great Wall. I saw the ticket from the Forbidden City and remembered how excited I was that the little bit of Kanji I can read translated over as Hanzi, and I could read a little bit in Chinese, and then immediately panicking when I realized it was counting down how many people were allowed in, and that number was dropping FAST. I saw my Yangshuo souvie and remembered the time we rode e-bikes through the mountains, which is straight up one of the best experiences of my entire life. I saw my Guilin souvie and remembered when Reggie and Sherin had the biggest spider I’ve ever seen chilling above their toilet. I saw how worn out my HSK1 book was compared to my HSK 2 book and I got excited to wear that one out too. I didn’t realize how many resources I had been given by my partner teacher in Xi’an until I started taking them all out of my bag and man there is a lot.
Being back is kind of strange. Xi’an was the first time I had lived on my own and relearning how to live with other people is taking some getting used to. There’s now all these responsibilities I didn’t have to worry about in Xi’an like working and preparing for field 3. The day I left Xi’an it was ~25 degrees and the day I got back to Calgary it was -15 and unsurprisingly I got sick from the sudden 40 degree drop in temperature. I thought I would be sad about how cold it is here but I got really happy once I started seeing snow from the airplane. I keep saying things to people in Mandarin and then reminding myself I don't need to do that anymore haha.
I’m glad to be back. I definitely took for granted how easy it is to find things in Canada. I once tried to find a book in Xi’an, and when I asked my friend about a bookstore she said to order it online because there weren’t very many bookstores in Xi’an. I can get food from any country in the world by walking maybe 10 minutes from house but in China foreign food was fairly hard to come by, with the exception of fast food like KFC or Mcdonalds. Also, cold water. China didn’t have cold water and I’m glad there is no shortage of that here. It’s a heck of a lot easier to use the internet now that I don’t have to wait for the VPN to reconnect every 5 minutes haha.
China was an amazing experience and I’m super grateful I had the opportunity to go. I definitely want to keep learning Mandarin. My classmates will be writing the HSK 4 exam next spring and I would like to keep learning at their pace and write it as well. Hopefully I’m not too bombarded by field that I cant take an hour of my day aside to learn a few new words. I was not expecting to like China as much as I did but I've come back feeling homesick. I miss China. I want to go back to Xi’an one day and also explore different parts of the country, like Chengdu and Shanghai.