My China Experience - It's been awesome!
As one would expect, the decision to leave home to live, work, and travel in a land, in which to myself is on the opposite side of the world hailing from Ireland and all was not an easy decision, but one which I would definitely not change. With my own journey here, I have to admit that on arriving in China, I realized that I knew very little of this ancient and massive country, and my nerves had definitely set in as I was standing in the middle of Beijing airport terminal, with a bag on my back and a pocket book with a few Chinese phrases, which I know I was not able to pronounce correctly. I think I’m still not pronouncing them correctly and I assume every Chinese person thinks the same, but is too nice to say anything.
I am glad to say that I feel completely settled after four months living here. The massive point which has amazed me and no doubt all the foreign teachers and travelers is the friendliness and warmth of the Chinese people. Hailing from a country as Ireland which is known to have one of the most friendly and welcoming citizens, I can return home and say the Ireland has fierce competition in that area. One example being and there has been many, during my first week exploring Xiangtan, myself and two colleagues who were just exploring old town different shops and premises were treated to a sit down for a meal with a family we had just met 30 minutes earlier. If that’s not hospitality I don’t know what is. China being so vast I have only been able to travel to a few places at this moment, but what I have experienced and saw has been truly breath-taking. From seeing the scenery in crossing the yellow river through the heart of China and visiting a Tai-Chi village near Luoyang, Henan, to climbing Mount Huashaun to watch the sunrise in Xi’an (although I’m fit, it was very tough), I know those views will stay with me for the rest of my life, and I am so happy to experienced them. They have also fueled my want, and need to see much more of China’s beauty which I know is in great abundance. My teaching life in China has been also been great. Having studied Law throughout university, I really wanted to travel and experience something new before I turned 30. Which surprisingly isn’t that far away, Irish people are a bit similar to Chinese people in that way too - we look younger than we are. It must be all the whisky and baijiu we drink. Which in Irish translates to the water of life. I must admit that stepping into a classroom and having to teach 40-50 children was actually more nerve racking, than the actual moving to China. But in all honesty, I love it. The children’s energy and general inquisitiveness in turn gives me energy. I won’t lie and say that it has been plain sailing, as all teachers can agree with, but you move past the hard times, continuously developing as a teacher and person, and as such the hard times have become less frequent. Through all the support, I and Luibomir have received from the more veteran teachers at No. 12 Middle School, especially Miss. Liu (Susan) I can wholeheartedly say, we are different teachers for the better. With all that said, I am truly looking forward to the rest of my time in China both in terms of teaching the kids for another semester and that of travelling and experiencing more of what China has to offer.