Greetings! I've taken a small hiatus recently to basically get my stuff together. Moving and working every day and getting used to everything has been a bit of a process, but I am finally feeling ready to get back in action.
Moving to Nanjing was such a breeze. I was immediately welcomed into a community of students who were my age, my country, and of similar interests. We ate western food and hung out at western bars and listened to jazz and went to class and it was basically just like back home. It was wonderful! I feel like I can say I avoided culture shock for a good six months!
But ever since I moved to Kunming, things haven't been as cozy. I think the most obvious difference was that my group of friends split up! I have lamented about this endlessly, but it was really hard to let everyone go! In Kunming, I have two classmates who are wonderful, but they unfortunately work at a different office than I do, and live quite a ways away, about an hour by bus. We haven't done much hanging out, just because of sheer distance.
The obvious cure for this would to go and make some friends (duh!). My coworkers have become the best friends I have here. They have been really sweet and fun to be around. They help me correct my Chinese, I help them with their English, and they take me out to eat at cool places sometimes. I feel really lucky that my coworkers turned out to be so welcoming and open to sharing and talking with me.
Meeting other people outside of work has been sort of hard though. Like in the US, I feel like it is not uncommon to meet people and have a genuine connection. Its different here though. First of all, less people talk to you, because they just don't think you speak the same language. Second, if they do try to talk to you, they are probably just a dude trying to flirt. Just, no. Third, I find that a lot of cool girls I meet are just passing through, traveling. It's fun to finally feel connected, but a bummer to have to just say, "kay bye" so much. And lastly, I find a lot of people are weirded out by my foreignness. It's a bigger divide than a lot of idealists would like to think: "We're all just people, right man?" But it really is more than that.
Another obvious cure would be to be with the friends that I've got! This has proven really useful. Travel here is SO convenient, and so having a get together with friends from Xichang and Chengdu has been really easy, and has really made me feel so much better. We are all converging on Xichang this week again for the May Holiday to be together and check out where our friend Shayn lives. I am really looking forward to that.
Anyways, I am beginning to feel a bit lighter and open than before. I'm just a little slow on the uptake, okay! You can expect some more regular posts from me in the future, I'm looking forward to putting out some good articles. Cheers everyone.