Unbound

The past few days have been incredibly taxing. My contract with Ameson ends June 30th, my landlord needs the rent for July, and I have no idea what I’ll be doing or where I’m going to live at the end of August when my visa expires. I’ve applied to study Chinese at Nanjing University which will grant me a student visa. My dance teacher tells me I can work for him and earn a decent living. My family tells me everyday that they want me to return to the states for a few weeks and spend time with them. A lot of people tell me that what I want out of life isn’t realistic: I need to fit in with the rest of the world eventually.

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Except that I think about all my role models and people I want to be affiliated with–they lead anything but an average or normal life. Fitzgerald and Zelda and Faulkner and Fillion and Wheaton and Atwood and Arundhati and (the list never ends)–I am determined to be a living meltingpot of their lives and experiences. So when you tell me to fold, I pass through the looking glass; when you tell me I need to give in to arbitrary rules and expectations, I leap without looking into the rabbit hole.

Summer (finally)

This is the last stretch. I’m only a few days away from the end of my contract with Ameson. After the 30th, I’ll be free of this company and able to start living my life the way I had planned to do when I first moved to China. I’ve been thinking about careers, jobs, and lifestyles of late. Having spent the past 10 months behind a desk for almost 8 hours a day, I can’t imagine how people spend years at jobs like this. Who decided that this way an okay way to waste what little time we’re granted in our lives? I didn’t think this was a desk job when I signed the contract; I ran from my first job in the US because it was a desk job that made me immensly unhappy. This position isn’t nearly as horrible as the first, but it still isn’t for me. It doesn’t help that the company doesn’t understand my frustration. I offered to take a pay cut in order to have half days or leave early. They said no because there is too much work to get done. Its all lies though. Half the people around me shop online or plan their weddings or discuss the latest apartment furnishings they purchased. 

I’m not going to look back on how I spent this time and wish I had done more. When I think about the time I’ve spent abroad and away from my family and friends, I want to remember it as well spent and utilized. I mean to spend my life dancing as much as possible and writing stories and articles. Staring at a computer screen for hours on end while sitting in an uncomfortable chair as my back and hips twitch in pain is not how I am going to live out my days. My boss told me to be realistic: you should spend most of your time working. I disagree. If I’m miserable and depressed at the end of every workday, what the hell is the point of it all. If I only get 2 days out of 7 to enjoy my life, then it isn’t worth it. All I can do it pity everyone that fails to see the entire picture. All I can do is pity the people that our cultures brainwashed into thinking this is required of them.

Notice/Update on Posts

As a side note: I haven’t updated this much, but I have been on twitter and instagram. I’m going to tweak this wordpress soon so that it mostly just hosts my social media stream. That way you’ll see that I’m active!

P.S. If you have questions, then please ask me. Life in China is insane and different, but moving here is the best decision I’ve made in a long time. There are only a few things I miss, most of them are people.

Reinvented

Hong Kong made me realize I’m wasting time on a lot of things in Nanjing. I spend too much money on drinking, taxis, and things I don’t need. This is my restart. The next one hundred and five days are for me to reinvent myself. I’m changing my habits, focusing on dance and writing, and thinking more about my day to day choices and their impact on those around me. Instead of complaining and wishing things were different, I’m taking charge of my life.

Alongside those changes, I’ll be performing the 100 day challenge. I think doing this will help me keep this blog updated as well as keep me on track and focused when it comes to making the changes I want to make. Though there are many changes I want to make happen, it is better to do them one at a time, week by week.

This week my goal is to reinvent my diet. I’ve strayed away from the healthy food I was eating and started down the path of junk food. For the next seven days, I’m dedicated to removing junk food from my diet and eating healthier. (I am inserting more working out as well, but it isn’t the main focus. Working out will be the focus starting next Tuesday)
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In case you missed my selfie posting spree this weekend, here is a photo recap of all the HK fun:

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The Peak and other views of Hong Kong


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Disneyland Hong Kong with Ernest aka Canada

Hair in Hong Kong

I’ve put off getting my hair cut for long enough. On this latest trip to Hong Kong I finally gave in and picked a place.
My wariness comes from having curly hair and that I’ve had one hair dresser for the last 9 years. I’m anxious about letting someone that doesn’t know me or understand the physics of curly hair near my locks.
Never fear: I did some research and took the dive.
My selection: Hair Corner
A little over priced, but a wonderful experience overall.
I chose the cheapest of the four cut options and then spoke with my stylist while sipping a cup of coffee. Just a trim to get the deadends.
They washed my hair for quite a while, which was okay because it included an amazing neck and head massage. Afterwards, my stylist went to work.
The result made me incredibly happy.
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Communication might have been the biggest problem; I couldn’t seem to have a straightforward conversation with Thomas. But the front desk lady spoke fairly good English, which made me feel better.
Complementary food is the only thing that could have made it better.
Unless you know your way around, it is a little difficult to find. At the same time, that means the clientele aren’t just off the street.

Scores
Location: 7/10
Atmosphere: 7/10
Price: 420 HKD
Customer Service: 9/10
Experience: 8/10
Satisfaction: 9/10

Looking Forward

Everyone says time flies, but I disagree. As time moves forward, there are moments where you feel very present and other times in which you’re so focused on what has passed and what is too come that you miss the now. The last few months have been that way for me. I know I won’t look back on my experience here and wonder where the time went because I’ve been living in the moment. I force myself not to dwell for long periods of time on my past or wish to much for the future. It isn’t the best excuse for not updating my blog or sending post cards, but it is the only one I can give my friends and family.

February was an interesting month on this side of the world. We celebrated the lunar New Year. Almost everyone I know went home or on a long trip across south-east Asia. I was the odd one out; Nanjing’s streets emptied and I caught up on sleep, ate a lot of junk food, and practiced billiards (while drinking lots of Corona). There are two reasons I stayed in town. First, traffic traveling in China around any holiday is ten times worse than what you see state side. Second, I am taking another trip to Hong Kong in mid March to visit my aunt. I’m considering it a late New Year vacation.

Before the lunar celebrations though, I spent a majority of the last two months fighting a variety of illnesses. My favorite sandwich shoppe gave me food poisoning, which led to stomach problems, which led to an inability to eat food at all for several days. Once I stopped eating Chinese food things settled down, but every day I have to triple think my meals and make sure the food I ingest won’t do damage. Then of course, I caught a cold that lasted over two weeks. It is only now that my lungs are clearing up and my nose only sniffles when I’m out in the cold for too long.

I expect to continue being busy over the next 3 months with teaching, working, studying Chinese, dancing, and writing. Speaking of which, I am submitting a piece for a writing competition on March 15th so fingers crossed that the judges see my genius work for what is really is.

Thanks for checking in on me J

PS – If you’re ever curious about what I’m up to, check out my Twitter & Instagram. (I update those a lot more than my blog). 

A New Year

Happy New Year! I spent the evening at a friend’s party and met with some Rollins College alum. Nothing too exciting.

Since then I’ve been swamped with work. In the next two weeks Stephaine and I will take several trips to interview students in Hefei, Nantong, Suzhou, Yixing, and Jiangyin.

I’ve also been finding time to continue my writing and dance. I’ve started a podcast and will be posting it here soon. The PC will revolve around life in Nanjing. If you have questions, please send them in or tweet me! @fictionbrewery