So it’s December 1st and I’m simultaneously excited and so nervous for Christmas this year. I mean, Christmas is fab for everyone involved. But buying presents sometimes fills me with dread: "will they like the presents that I’ve bought?", "I hope I haven’t bought the wrong thing for the wrong person."
Being on the other side of the world adds to the perplexion. "If I send things home now, will they arrive in time?", "Will they be damaged en route?" "Will Customs and Excise open everything or hold it up, claiming for import taxes?". So yeah, I am quite nervous.
It’s going to be hard I think. I will be away from family for the first time ever on Christmas. If I’m being honest with you, I don’t know quite what to do with myself. I’m not sure it’ll feel the same doing Christmas over Skype. I mean, it will be lovely seeing everyone again but it definitely doesn’t match being there in person.
I guess that is the price I have to pay for being five thousand miles away.
I’ve noticed the tone of my last few posts has been quite negative. I will cheer up, honest!
So now we have plans for travel! My roomate Hugh’s friend is coming to China for a couple of weeks so the three of us are going travelling. We will be visiting Hong Kong, staying there for New Year’s, and then following that with a whistle-stop tour of China’s West and North-West, visiting Beijing, Harbin and Shanghai.
It will involve several thousand miles of flying, train journeys and a inordinately long amount of time spent in cheap youth hostels. But isn’t that what the winter holidays are for?
We hope to go see the major sights in Beijing (Great Wall, Tian’anmen Sq, Forbidden City, maybe even a quick visit to Chairman Mao’s Mausoleum!), then move on to Harbin, where we will brave the predicted -15c weather to visit the world famous Ice Festival. This is something that I have wanted to do since I was about fifteen years old. The promise of an festival the size of a town, showing off the best ice sculptures China and possibly the world has to offer is something I relish. After a freezing two days in Harbin, we are going to Shanghai to defrost and spend a couple of days exploring before Hugh’s friend leaves.
And then after Hugh’s friend leaves, we have another four weeks in which to continue travelling. Excited isn’t the word!
More to follow.
The wise man has long ears and a short tongue.
A quick brag. In case you were interested, I got 94% in my recent mid term exam, which shocked me. I don’t feel as if my Chinese has improved dramatically since being here so getting that high a score was surprising.