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

Happy Holidays: Abroad Again

The past few weeks have been wild. I’ve been to Nantong and Jiangyin and will be on my way to Hong Kong tomorrow morning. Work isn’t what I expected; I’m immersed in English all day, which makes learning Mandarin that much harder. I spend two or three nights a week teaching English. That experience has taught me how ridiculous the English language is and how much I do not like teaching low level English learners.

       I built a desk and finally had my landlord fix the heat in my apartment, which makes getting out of bed in the morning a lot easier. I still miss home, my family and friends, but it isn’t as bad as it was a few months ago. My new friends have kept me company and help me when I’m down. Plus, I realized I’m doing exactly what I’ve always wanted to do. I spend all my time writing and dancing and traveling. My next goal: earn a living through dance or writing (as an author).

       Sometimes I can’t wait to return home, in fact I have a count down started (159 days and counting). Other times, I know I’ll never live in the States again because I can’t be what I am over there. At heart, I am a wild, untamable soul—America doesn’t have the capacity for that anymore. Back home, they push and prod until it is squeezed out of you and you’re slightly less than what you were.

       I won’t settle. 

Time on My Hands

Living in Nanjing has provided me with a surfeit of time. Introspection is my forte. Though I do interact with people daily, a majority of my time is spent thinking at my computer desk or walking between work and home. The amount of self-reflection I do on a daily basis would astound most people. Stuck in this country, I have nothing else to do but look back on how I’ve spent my life since graduation.

The conclusion I’ve come to is quite simple: I’m an inconsiderate person that is incapable of loving anyone but her cat; I manage to corrode and poison the positive relationships in my life, and my sanity is questionable.

How do I live with myself? All the great writers were depressed drunks with disputed sanity. 

In other news, I’m planning a trip to Hong Kong in March, and have a few trips coming up in December.

To my friends and family that follow this: I’m fine. I love you all. Come visit. Free room and board. Thank you for all the support and care packages; they mean everything to me.

The Past Month at a Glance

What is there to say? Nanjing is just like any other city, except for the weather and lack of country bars. In the last month, the temperature has dropped, and I’ve been busy with work 9am to 9pm. I miss my family. I long for my friends. I wish the people in this city loved country music and line dancing the way I do, but they don’t. I’ve found a dance studio, and I’m well on the way to locating a pointe instructor. As long as I have my writing and my dance, I’ll be all right.

Sad to say, but I’m already looking forward to returning home in July. Nothing compares to Texas and Florida in summer—the people and parties are unique to that part of the United States. In short, I miss the South: cultures, music, manners, people—there is nothing like it in the entire world.

Though I miss parts of life back home, I am enjoying my time in China. I’ve met incredible people and have traveled to places most people only see on television. I’m living alone for the first time in my life and enjoying it. There is only one thing missing, one person missing from my life right now (two, if you include my cat).

Postcards will be on the way soon, and I’ll be creating a podcast as well.

I’d like to end this post on a happy note: my Dad and Bonus-Mom mailed me a care package. It was filled with warm clothes, boots, and a few knick knack I couldn’t fit into my one checked bag. <3

November care package from Dad and Alicia

November care package from Dad and Alicia

National Holiday Update

Things have started to settle down in Nanjing.

My 7 day holiday began Wednesday and I’ve finally had time to clean the new apartment. In case I haven’t mentioned it, cockroaches, unclosable windows and doors, and a shower/laundry drain that didn’t drain forced me out of my first 6th story apartment. To be honest, it was the best thing that could have happened because now I have a nicely remodeled place. The new digs come with an actual tub, a backyard, screened in patio, and an office (plus furnishings). It is also cheaper than the previous apartment.

Pictures will follow eventually, don’t worry.

Sidenote: I’ve met two of the most amazing women. I work with one and met the other during Beijing orientation. I have no idea was forces in the universe brought the three of us together, but we’re thick as thieves.

I suppose I haven’t talked about my job much. My official title is International College Counselor; I edit student essays and resumes in order to improve their western college applications. Plus, Steph and I travel to work with them one on one and assess their college readiness. The job has been enjoyable thus far.

One day at a time, that is how i’m taking things. I still miss my friends and family in the states, but not as much as my first trip to China. Fun fact: I’ll be celebrating my birthday in China for the second time.

Here’s to the ones we love <3