It’s been almost 6 months since I landed in China. Can you believe that? I hardly can. The time really flies when you’r… well, let’s just say the time flies. 😉
In all seriousness, there isn’t much to do in the town I’m in, so unless I have a friend with a car or a hired driver take me out, most of my time is spent heads down in MiKandi related activities. Which is not that bad because I love MiKandi, but lately I’ve been craving more balance. Unfortunately, there’s not much to going on in Changping.
Then I came across this blog. You may have visited it sometime in the past few days. After reading her now famous post of the now infamous fake Apple Stores, I continued on to previous posts. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that she’s also an expat living in China, and has been coming here for the past 7 years. Her experiences and overall attitude about being an American in a foreign country really struck a chord with me. Not because I can relate. In fact, it’s precisely because I cannot.
While our lives may have some big similarities, the way we tackle our living situations is completely different. While she embraces her surroundings, I close myself off. I’ve been here for 6 months and I studied Mandarin for a year in college, but if you ask me to say something all I can conjure up is Ni jia you jige ren? (How many people are in your family?) and that’s only because it’s an inside joke that that is all Jesse and I know how to say. How lame.
Reading this blogger’s posts made me realize how much I’m missing out on. All of the experiences I could have had were wasted because of my bad attitude. I don’t have to go to Hong Kong or Xi’an in order to learn something about this country, it’s people, and their culture. I lamented a few months ago to Jesse that I didn’t feel there was anything exciting about my day to day life here. He reminded me of the rare opportunity I’ve been given. I have a once in a lifetime chance to experience life in a different country- a chance to learn more about the world I live in and to explore this part of our planet. How shortsighted have I been? And why? Because I was afraid to accept that, even if for a short time, China is my home. That I’m not just a visitor passing through. That I live here.
I’m ready to accept that now. And already, I feel like a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders.