Tuesday evening, 31/05/2016
I promised myself that today’s the day – THE DAY – that I would finally sit the fuck down and pump out my methodology, an assignment that is worth 35% of a subject that constitutes TWENTY-FOUR CREDIT POINTS. And so, the sudden, urgent desire to blog arises. Bye, GPA.
The past little while has been a confusing, messy time. Full of highs (mostly figurative) and new experiences and stronger bonds with those around me, but also more than a comparable share of lows. It’s nearly June and the transition away from my Sydney life is complete, but it sometimes feels as if my heart hasn’t caught up. We’re at a point where it’s no longer viable to be constantly in touch with my best friends back home. We’re just all so atrociously busy, particularly as semester sputters along and finals draw near. I’ve accepted that it’s no longer possible to know the minutiae of their lives, their up-to-date thoughts and feelings, who or what is making them happy or frustrated, 等等。I know that nothing between us has really changed, but for now, we’re no longer part of each others daily lives. And while that’s okay, on a rough day it can make you look towards the cloudy sky and draw a deep breath.
On the other hand, some things unique to the new life gifted to me here have quietly slipped away, which has weakened the anchor I feel to Shanghai. While our ICS group’s friendship continues to be ever more flawless – there is genuinely no one I would rather spend all of my fun-filled days with – it can feel sometimes like this whole year is just me and my six best Aussie mates dicking around in China on an extended holiday. I could just as easily be doing all these things with them back in Sydney. Meanwhile, I broke things off with the last person I’d been semi-seriously seeing since I moved here, and consequently bid 再见 to his circle of friends, who I really liked. Ah. Most of my mates from international school are also graduating from their programs at the end of this semester, including my closest friend there, who is returning to South Africa. He frustrates the shit out of me with his smug geekiness, nonsensical quips, bad emoji usage, and the fact that he wastes an offensively pretty face with dress choices that make me want to cry. But he’s a really special person, the kind you don’t meet too often, and the only one who’ll chuck Oreos onto my balcony to sabotage my diet and bike over every Monday for Game of Thrones night and say he still wants to be my friend even after I confessed I didn’t like him back and really mean it. Ah.
And so the relationships I have that are unique to this place continue to dim, and it feels like there are many things to rebuild after the summer. In the meantime, I’m a little caught between two lives, heart and mind not completely out of one, sometimes drifting away from the other. But for now there’s no time to fret – there are assignments to complete and finals to study for, hospital lines to queue up in and work shifts to juggle, family to visit and friends arriving in a week and there are so many things to do and so much that is happening So Very Soon.
Other Things That Have Been Happening
- Spent the loveliest weekend with Jess in Hangzhou, meeting her hilarious friends and just having quality “us” time. On Sunday she took me on the back of her scooter all the way to West Lake and it was disgustingly romantic, we had a cute lunch and went on a paddleboat and strolled and ate matcha cream puffs and laughed at dumb shit and talked about everything. Love u.
Stomach full heart even fuller
- To round out my life here a bit more I’ve been working to regain a sense of responsibility to something other than myself. Last week I volunteered at a women’s leadership forum and awards, it was super interesting to see the vastly different discourses that surround women’s empowerment in China compared to Australia, even among a largely Western, expat crowd. Also worked another festival with Mitch and Matilda, although it can hardly be called work when we just stand around talking shit with each other, drinking pale ale and shovelling new york slices all day. Next week I’ll be 代表-ing Little Creatures at a few client-facing events – not quite sure what I’m doing but very much living that say-yes-now-worry-about-the-details-later life right now.
Extremely professional employees definitely not drunk bar-top dancing
- Turned up harder than I ever have in my life for Diplo with the group, holy hell cannot even begin to explain how lit it was. It was actually shameful how lit we got. I don’t even care about Diplo normally but damnnnnnnnnnn.
- Hanging out with my grandma who has come up from Shenzhen at the old family’s flat in Jing’an. It’s a super old, traditional Shanghainese home, which I’ve come to appreciate as really beautiful in a city full of shiny, flashy development. And even though my grandma spends most of her time force feeding me fruit brioche, making me go to the hospital for more check ups and berating me for not being “soft and gentle enough” to find a boyfriend, it’s so lovely to be with family.
- Planning the summer holidays! Before semester ends Matty’s going to be down for a week and Jess is joining us for a big Uni Squad Reunion in Shanghai, super excited. Then Shelley arrives a few weeks later, then my sister and Joyce and Annie (edit: and now also Juanita!). We’ll also be going to Korea, and then I’m going to solo-explore San Fran (or maybe with the people I meet from this highly questionable Airbnb I’ve booked – the only house rules are “don’t be a jerk, 420 friendly”…) then Mexico for a few weeks to see Jeff and then Russia/Mongolia with ICS homiez!!! So yep that’s why I’m working for about AUD$8 an hour here, gotta holla 4 that much-needed dolla.
- Been a little unwell. China (coupled with some poor life choices) does that to you hey. The hospital system here is atrocious, please defend Medicare to your last breath my friends.