Initial Expectations – China

What was I expecting before I moved to China? To be honest not that much, partly due to feeling entirely overwhelmed by the whole situation and partly because I had absolutely no idea what to expect. But now that I’ve been here a week I thought I’d reflect on what’s happened so far; what made sense and what took me entirely by surprise.

Let’s start with day one. This one hit me like a slap in the face, I think even research could not have prepared me. I knew that I would have to have a medical check as part of getting health insurance. Here’s what I was thinking would happen: “Do you have any pre-existing illness that are going to be expensive for us to insure. No? Okay, bye.”

Here’s what I was not expecting: “Lie down. Top up. Bra too,” and then having my chest covered in these little sucker things, for whatever reason. I was not expecting to peer into my empty womb through a sonogram machine. I was not expecting to see an xray of my lungs. Or have my height, weight, and BMI tragically discussed with a nurse. Nor was I expecting to have the woman who took my blood be so glad she wore a face mask as it came spurting from my inner-elbow.

My face when I came out each room must’ve been a sight, because the guy helping me from agency laughed harder and harder each time each time I slunk back into the corridor. At least now I know my lungs are healthy, which I gathered from a tap of the screen and a thumbs up from the radiologist.

I don’t particularly have a problem with any of this, I suppose it’s good to have a check up? It was just so … so unexpected.

Even as I boarded the plane to Hong Kong I still don’t think the move had actually sunk in, it was more like, “I’m moving to China lol.” The reality that this decision would lead to hadn’t ever seemed like a possibility. Maybe it was too good to be true? So I was utterly and entirely shocked when I found myself, alone, in my own flat, 16 stories up in the centre of Huihoz, watching the little ant people mill around below me.

I wasn’t expecting to be knocked so sideways by jet lag. And maybe that’s my own naivety, but I honestly feel like a zombie. With a hangover. On my second day I was taken to the school where I would be working, I was thinking it would be for a little meet and greet. But I was wrong, an apparent recurring theme. By the end of the day I was teaching a class on my own. So with absolutely no time to overcome the jet lag I found myself dragging myself from place to place, not really fully aware of what was happening. The fact that I was completely dropped in at the deep end at work did not help. Without having any idea what I was doing, I found myself planning, teaching and preparing presentations on my second day.

I wasn’t expecting to eat a fish eye on day one – I figured at least give it three days. Is that the appropriate amount of adjustment time to eat a fish’s eye? And I definitely wasn’t expecting to spit it out moments like when I found the pupil and the outer edge impossible to chew. Note to self; inner jelly = good, pupil and cornea = very bad.

But here’s what I was expecting that so far have proven true:

I was expecting to feel overwhelmed by the language barrier. Check.

I was expecting to feel homesick. Check.

I was expecting to feel the thrill of the unknown. To feel small in a huge country with so many possibilities and adventures that I could discover. Check check.

2 thoughts on “Initial Expectations – China

  1. We loved it! Your sense of humour and self deprecation shine through! We would love to know about the other people you are working with and the age and ability of the kids. The pictures look amazing!


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