This week, I am feeling quite melancholy. I saw that it was “National Friends Day,” which was popularized on various social media sites. I texted a few of my friends, but I haven’t been able to talk to a good portion of the people I care about the most. I was sick this week, and got to talk to some people a lot more than I had before because I woke up in the middle of the night multiple times. When I got to talk to my friends, I remembered all of the times that things were so perfect in Gainesville. None of these people went with me to Beijing though, and so I have to compensate by making new friends and talking to my old ones as much as possible. For the people that I haven’t had the chance to talk to yet, I am really sorry. Know that I love you, and I think about you every day! When you leave the place that you have taken for granted, you remember how much you left behind. So, I cannot wait to return, and make the most of the relationships I have in Florida.
The language barrier is the worst. Say what again, I dare you! I double dare you! Samuel L. Jackson would have killed me if I were that guy. Who am I kidding, he killed that guy too. I do know a few words in Mandarin, but I believe that I pronounce all of them incorrectly. This is what I get for not practicing new languages throughout the course of my life. But we are taking Mandarin classes together, and I am attempting to adapt to the language’s construction, which is tonal as opposed to purely vocabulary-based.
A lot of people who contact me ask me how the food is. There are wide misconceptions about the food in China, especially in America. I don’t eat filthy animals. And in China, some things can perhaps be a little unnerving, especially street vendors. I have tried McDonald’s once. I ordered a Royale with cheese. But that occurs everywhere in the world, not just in Beijing or Shanghai! I have been frequenting this little food stand, under the suggestion of a few other students from the University of Florida, where it costs about $1.25 USD for a full meal, about a block away from my condominium! It is quite delicious and quite convenient! It is no Big Kahuna Burger, though.
I think that it has been hard for me to grow after the first week. To continue to push myself, not only through my internship, but through the experience of culture. To let go of my preconceived notions and my pride. Pride only hurts, it never helps. Every day, I learn new things, letting go of what I thought I knew about… Well, everything, basically. Would I give a guy a foot massage? I don’t think so, feet are gross. But, I am attempting to give up Coca-Cola now (and it doesn’t involve corn syrup in China, which makes it even harder) in order to keep my health as I get older (shall I make the same joke for the 56,104th time?). I think I am gaining maturity, because I have been on my own for almost a year now. And in a new country for almost a month now.
Luckily, I haven’t lost all of my Gainesville privileges, like Butch. Ezekiel 25:17 says “…Blessed is he who, in the name of charity and good will, shepherds the weak through the valley of the darkness, for he is truly his brother’s keeper and the finder of lost children…” I want to thank everyone who has allowed me to prosper happily during my life in Gainesville. I owe everything to you! Thanks again for reading. Go Gators!