The night before take-off

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July 19th 2012
Published: July 19th 2012
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Before you start reading, I should point out that this is the first time I have ever written a blog. However since facebook is not an option where I am going, and I need to upload my pictures somehow, I have started now. I may stop doing this. I may keep going. I haven't decided yet. Just remember that if my entries suddenly stop coming, it does not mean I have fallen in to the Yongding river!

Tomorrow I leave for Beijing for six weeks to learn Chinese Mandarin, and to be honest I don't think it's quite hit me yet. China is such an exotic, foreign place that it somehow seems so unlikely that I will actually be on my way there in under 24 hours. I have no idea what I will find there (though of course I have asked around), and no preconceptions.

Parts of it will be undeniably challenging. For one thing I will have to do without facebook, which for a die-hard computerholic like me is harder than it sounds. Much more importantly however, as the fact I am going to a language school implies, I can speak virtually no Chinese, let alone read it. And unlike European languages with an alphabet, that means I can't even guess. I would love to meet Chinese people when I am out there and ask them about their lives and their country, but in reality I'll be giving myself a pat on the back if I successfully manage to get the groceries done!

On the other hand I also spent my previous Summer at a language school and had a very enjoyable time. The people I met (whether French or otherwise) were mostly fantastic, and I certainly got a lot of French practise in and had many amazing and interesting experiences (however clich├ęd that sounds). There is no reason why this should not be the same.

My feelings about departure then are a mixture of nerves and anticipation, as you would imagine. I suppose that the best way to deal with this is to simply throw myself in and see what happens. So all that remains then is for me to shut my laptop, finish packing my bag, and get on that plane!


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