I have been looking back on my blogs of the last 12 months and I now realize how far I have come since my early days in China. I really was lost, and everything was hard.
Grocery shopping is now a breeze for me and we don't just survive on the essentials, of wine, cheese and olives.
I have the subway totally sorted and most days you will find me going here and there exploring, I have so much yet to see.
I bargain like a champion at the markets and I get by on the small amount of Chinese language I have learnt. I do have a long way to go yet with learning this language.
It wasn't exciting like so many people told me it would be before I left, it was very lonely when we arrived here, surrounded by millions of people but no one to have a yarn to. The days were long and Leo was always busting to go out to meet and talk to english speaking people any chance we got, I on the other hand wasn't so keen. There are lots of events to go to and Leo would talk me in to going. Well sure I wanted to try and make some friends but I just hated the dreaded question they would ask....
Well there are three conversation starters here when you are meeting people,
"Where do you come from?", I am fine with that question and people seem to like to talk to me just so they can listen to my strong Aussie accent.
"How long have you been here?" Well I didn't love that question as people would say, "Oh you are so new here, you've got so much to learn" and have a bit of a chuckle.
Then the dreaded question, "What do you do here?"
Everyone would be rattling off their big flash job titles. Leo shocks people every time when he tells them he is a farmer. Lots of city people don't seem to know the world needs farmers and of course Leo loves to shock people so he loves that question, unlike me.
I would be standing there thinking, don't ask me, don't ask me, don't ask me but of course every time they did. I couldn't really say "I try to look happy and not cry at the drop of a hat, and spend my days thinking how I can get out of this place." I would usually just tell them I was studying which was true but I really felt I needed something a bit more impressive to say.
So in the past 12 months I have made some amazing friends and I don't know how I ever lived without them. I'm happy here, I have met people from all over the world and learnt so much about different cultures and about myself. I have even heard myself say, "I don't know how I am ever going to leave this place".
Nowadays I love meeting people from all over the world and am like Leo chomping at the bit to meet new people. I have spiced up my answer to the dreaded question though and after the people we are meeting announce their flash titles they then ask me what I do and I say, "I'm an explorer".
They say, "Oh that's sounds so interesting, what do you explore?"
I say, "Mainly bars and restaurants".
It breaks the ice and by the end of the night people are asking, "Do you need an offsider?"
"Can I please work for you?"
or "I want your job!".