So, I guess this is it. We had a bit of a leaving do last night, as both Renata and I make a move today. It’s been emotional to say goodbye to everyone – a lot of people have gone off for a beach weekend so leaving a deserted dorm this afternoon will be a strange sensation. Anyhow it’s kind of mixed emotions! The last few weeks have been so unbelievably amazing, and last night was maybe a bump back down to earth. With it being the end of exams, people had been drinking and celebrating (quite rightly, too) but it was just a kind of watershed for me. I crashed in the afternoon and let it all wash over me. The evening do turned in to a much larger, louder gathering than planned; however, although this wasn’t my ideal last night, maybe it was a good thing, because it reminded me that though I’ve had the most amazing year ever here, this lifestyle for me is not a sustainable one. I have to go back home and crack on with the next challenge.
The people I’ve met here will be really hard to leave, but there is no doubt in my mind, some of these friendships are friends for life, and we will meet again – sooner rather than later.
One, however, whom I met during the competition… I’m not so sure. I saw the sun setting a few days ago, and it struck me as a metaphor for this friendship. Sadly, my time’s come to leave, and like that beautiful sunset, I don’t know when/if I’ll get to see it again. But in the words of Noah and the Whale, L I F E G O E S O N! So with the awesomeness, creativity and strumming of Vlad, I wrote a song about it – listen by clicking the “play” button below.
Now, as for an appraisal of the year (marks out of ten)…
Consistency – 0
Obviously, I couldn’t rate this as anything other than a big fat zero! Life here is too random for me in general, but a year of being exposed to this degree of “going with the flow” will no doubt be of massive benefit in the future! I’ve learned a lot in this respect, and although I would appreciate a bit more order in my life, it’s been an eye-opener to live in this way for a period of time.
Language improvements – 9
I can’t give this a ten, because I didn’t take HSK, and because I still haven’t got my final grades. As I wrote last time, although I’ve lost a bit of the will to go to some of these more boring classes in the last month or so (especially when things have got busy with the competition). But this has been compensated by spending more time with Chinese friends. I can’t remember exactly what my Chinese was like a year ago, but I am pretty sure that I have made massive massive strides, especially with this semester’s challenges (skipping D class, spending more time out and about with Chinese…).
Variety – 7
Linked with the first point here. Again, the variety has been tremendous. But sometimes, I have questioned whether we could have more going on – especially during the afternoons. It seemed like we had a lot of downtime, even in spite of taking part in so many activities. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing in itself, but is worth considering.
People met – 10
I can’t name everyone here, as there are so many amazing people I’ve met, and who’ve been a big part of the best year of my life. I won’t forget any single one of you: from my classmates who I’ve been with, watched films with, eaten with, drunk with, sung with, run with every day for the past year; right through to all the Chinese people I’ve known and met for a very short period of time, including those who took part in this month’s singing competition, of course!
Tunefulness – 9
The only reason this doesn’t get a perfect score is because of some of the poor quality music that gets blared out of random clothes shops when they’re having a sale… It’s like being in the middle of Sinners on a Friday night! But in all seriousness, this musicality is probably the biggest thing I personally will take from this year. Performing, writing songs and playing the guitar/ukulele have all given me an amazing amount of pleasure, and a great feeling of confidence. I don’t want to stop this – in whatever form it might take, I have to keep singing back in England.
Encouragement – 9
As for encouragement for the future, I will draw every lesson possible from this experience. It’s been totally unbelievable. The time is right to come home and move on with life I think now, but I am a more confident, outgoing, happy person. I have also learned to be more patient in whatever I do – this will be particularly useful in the world of work and in my running. (I’ve signed up for the Great North Run, so if anyone else is aiming for a sub-1:30 and would like to help challenge me during my training, do get in touch!)
Unforgettableness – 11
No more needs to be said.
For the last time from room 629 here in Haikou, I will sign off now. See you back in England in 30 hours! X