Hey guys, while I was away from the Internet, my cell phone, and my friends and family, I spent a lot of time with myself and with my journals. This time was very therapeutic and although in the end, I wasn’t able to strengthen myself enough to stay in China, I do believe I came out stronger anyway. Here’s some (not all, because that would be a long post) of my journal entries from the time I was in China. (These are really raw, and I feel truly depict how I was feeling through anxiety attacks and as such, may be triggering for some).
- Today I arrived in China, and I still can’t believe I’m really here. The flights were long and tiring, but I think I’m #winning at avoiding jetlag. Of course, traveling abroad isn’t done right without a few bumps in the road. My suitcases were lost. Yippee! Then my assistant who was supposed to pick me up from the airport was three hours late, my phone wasn’t working so I couldn’t call her. Long story short, I had tons of scenarios run through my mind: this was a scam, I traveled all the way here and no one’s here to pick me up, my bags are lost, etc. I broke down at the baggage claim and came so close to buying a ticket back to Maui.
- I had dinner with my boss and her daughter, Marina. Marina is SO good at speaking english, and she’s so passionate about the language. Listening to her speak really warmed my heart, and got me excited to begin teaching.
- Today is a busy day. Last night I stayed in a hotel, but today I’m going to be moving into my apartment. I have blisters on my hands from carrying my bags through the airports.
- I’m sick of it here. I know it’s only been a few days, but it’s too overwhelming, too many changes all at once. My anxiety is so bad I can’t eat or sleep, I’ve only cried since I got here. My coworkers are nice, but this isn’t for me. I hope and pray I can leave today because honestly one more night here might kill me. I just can’t stand it. I feel like an idiot for thinking I was strong enough to come here. I’m a failure.
- Last night I was trying to sleep but there was no lock on the apartment door. I propped up a chair against the door and sat in it for the night. My upstairs neighbors were fighting and screaming, I thought someone was going to die. Around 5 a.m., what looked like the Chinese equivalent of ROTC started chanting and yelling outside, then they sang, marched and yelled some more. Now it’s 7 a.m. and there’s construction going on outside.
- I’m eating stale bread and anti-diarrheal medicine.
- I don’t like being alone. There’s something about this place that gives me anxiety and throws me into panic attacks. I don’t like being away from my family. I don’t speak the language. I can’t navigate this city. There are millions and millions of people here. The streets are filthy dirt roads, the people stare and spit at me, traffic laws are nonexistent and personal space is a foreign concept. I don’t like being alone. I hate it, I hate it, I hate it.
- I’m staying with a coworker because I can’t handle being alone. I feel ridiculous and ashamed, but I’m very grateful for her and all the love she’s given me.
- I’ve decided that if I’m still not stable by Friday, I will go home. I feel terrible, but I would feel worse if (**I didn’t finish this sentence, and I don’t remember what I was going to say)
- Today a mother pulled her child’s pants down and he pooped right there in the plaza.
- I told my boss that I didn’t feel safe, and she told me to “grow up.” I don’t feel supported here at all. I just want to get out of here.
- I need to stop biting my nails!!!!
- Side note: I need to buy a mask. The pollution here is over 200, which is terribly unhealthy. The air is so thick and dirty, it’s nauseating.
- Be confident and respect yourself always.
- Life is very beautiful, and so very short. So enjoy every minute of it.
- Take life positively, sometimes with patience, and remember things will all work out in the end.
- Let go. Don’t think about being alone. Just accept it.
- “Be alone, my dear, but never ever, for as long as you live, be lonely.”
- I was extremely homesick this morning, it woke me from my dreams and I was in actual physical pain. I’ve also been losing weight since I’ve been here. It’s so hard to eat.
- I forgot to shower last night and my hair is gross.
- A bunch of my friends have been reaching out to me via email and Tumblr (the only things I have right now, since China blocks everything else and I still don’t have a phone). And it reminds me how supported I am, and how lucky I am to have the greatest friends in the world.
- The world is yours to create. Take it, mold it, shape it into everything you’ve dreamed it would be. Absorb the culture around you, appreciate the little things and give thanks for the life you’ve been given, because it truly is a magnificent one.
- Today I finished Lena Dunham’s book and I’m amazed. Her writing is addicting, something to fall in love with.
- One of my best friends, Scarleth, recommended I download a bible app so I can do daily devotionals. I like this idea, and today they helped me. I’m blessed.
- 7pm: chemo time!
- I had a really odd dream last night. I was sitting in a doctor’s office, and a guy had his arm around me. I’m assuming it was a significant other, although my dream yielded no faces. Then I had another dream that my uncle and I went to a high school. My uncle hit on a girl, and then her boyfriend chased us around with guns. It was terrifying and I awoke more exhausted than when I had fallen asleep.
- Today is the one year anniversary of my uncle Julio’s passing. It’s hard because I really want to be around family. I need a hug, I think.
- It’s always mornings that get me.
- I really miss my college roommates. I wish they were here because although we bickered sometimes, we truly were the best of friends.
- I’m sitting at my desk, that come tomorrow morning, will not longer be “my desk.” My time has come and gone. I’m having mixed emotions.
- I’m reading news articles about apples and a storm that’s supposed to hit Alaska’s Aleutian Isles.
- And just like that we’re back at square one: What the hell am I doing with my life?
- My horoscope today: “The answer is closer than you realize, even if it doesn’t come immediately, it will come. If not today, tomorrow. If not this week, next week. Practicing patience all but ensures your success.”
- Side note: I want to take a pottery class.
- Only 14% of expats are completely satisfied with their life abroad (internations.org)
- Today I am leaving Zhenjiang, which I never thought I would do. I won’t write about it. I’m taking the train to Shanghai where I’ll stay with some friends. I’ve been looking at other places to teach, maybe I can live with Paul? But realistically, everyone wants someone with more experience or a TEFL. But I’m a firm believer in “everything happens for a reason,” so there’s a reason why I wasn’t supposed to be here, and I knew that from my first night here.
- I’m with Paul now. Yesterday he took me sightseeing around Shanghai. This city is huge. 24 million people, yet it’s cleaner and actually a developed city, unlike the place I was at.
- All of this feels like a dream, it’s all so bizarre, it can’t really be happening, can it? I wish it wasn’t.
- Scarleth has been heaven sent throughout this entire trip to hell. “Even if you fly back home, it doesn’t mean you have failed at this. It just means it wasn’t for you. This doesn’t make you a failure, this experience can only make you stronger.” Thank you, Scarleth.
- I hate being an imposition. My whole existence is an imposition.
- It’s official, I’m heading back to Maui tomorrow morning. No doubt I have mixed feelings, but I’m happy to finally go home. This was supposed to be the trip of a lifetime, the best year of my life, but here I am sitting in Paul’s AP calculus class just itching to board that plane tomorrow. And even though my adventure in China was cut short, and I didn’t do what I came here to do, I’ll still leave here with more than I came with (except for the money I lost in coming here, but that’s beside the point). I’m still going to tell my children about this, and this will also be the best damn chapter in my memoir.
- Side note: Take Paul out to dinner tonight!
-I’m sitting on the plane to Manila right now, I just ate a decent airplane meal (as decent as airplane meals get, anyway). I caught a cab from Paul’s house to the airport and surprisingly navigated the airport without getting lost, missing my flight and/or dying.
- I’d be lying if I told you that I’m not going to miss China, but I would also be lying if I did. I won’t miss the terror, anxiety, language barrier and unsupportive, unknown environment. But I will miss the people I met and what could have been.
- Even though the sun has set and risen and set again, it’s technically still Tuesday, which blows my mind.
- I didn’t sleep much because the turbulence was terrifying. The plane actually dropped several times and I honestly thought we were going down. A lady also went into cardiac arrest on the plane, but I was too tired to pay any attention.
- Vertigo and airplanes don’t mix well.
- Side note: I really need to shave my legs…
I hope you enjoyed a peek into my mind and my trip to China. Do you journal?