Leaving China Behind

Time flies. Two months back in America flew by just as fast as the first two did in China.  It’s crazy being back home.  Spending the semester in China was one of the best decisions that I’ve ever made.  It took me out of my comfort zone, helped me make memories that I’ll never forget, introduced me to people that I’ll keep close for the rest of my life, and help me grow as person in ways I never thought were possible.

My time in China was a whirlwind, and my beginning to the trip started just that was.  It was hard to leave America and go to China without any experience abroad, without any friends or family; where I don’t know a soul.  I get to China and can’t even find my luggage.  I also completely forgot to get out currency to pay for the cab to my home for the next couple months.

After that first hour of disarray, I knew it was going to end up being okay.  Two kids on my program helped spot me for the cab after I found my luggage.  We were then off on the hour commute to our new home, New Harbour.  The three of us got to know each other, got some food, and went to bed eager to meet the rest of our program group.  The next day went much better. Everyone was so nice and outgoing. I knew right away that I was going to make some lifelong friends.

These friends were the backbone of my time in China. There’s no way I would have had the same experience without them; good times and bad.  They supported me when I had to skip up a level in Chinese and make up ground in class.  They were there for me when I got a little homesick or was having what we called “a bad China day”.  They were the ones I explored a new portion of the world with, made memories with, and had experiences that will last with me forever.  The people I became close with in my program and met in China will always have a special place in my heart.

China became my home.  I miss it; especially the people. As a kid I constantly moved to new homes. Every house or apartment I lived in has become home in their own way.  China definitely became that for me too.  I knew my way around Shanghai like I knew my way around the Tri-cities.  It’s hard leaving a place that you grow to know so well.

I think the hardest part about leaving China wasn’t me wondering if I was going to come back or whether I was going to see the people I had come to care so much about or not. The hardest part was closing the door on that chapter. I guess that was part of my growth during my time in China; learning to make the most of each opportunity that life gives you and to really make the most of it when you can.  You never know what tomorrow is going to be like… or next week, or next year.  As long as you try your best, learn as much as you can, and do good by the people that mean the most to you; then life will always end up on the right side.

Midway through the semester it became hard to post because of Chinese internet and connectivity issues. Over the next couple of weeks, I will recap some of my favorite moments and experiences as well as some of the trips I took while there.

Thank you for reading and following along with my journey in China and my journey through life.

Best,

Riley