My mind is filled with China. I'm heading there to study in three weeks' time. The term starts on September 13, but I'll probably head to China first week of September to arrange for lodging and everything.
All my papers are in order, or have been submitted for consideration. I've been accepted into the school (just need to pay), and I have passed my visa application. At this point, all I have to do is arrange my plane tickets, pay tuition, and look for a dorm (unless I get an apartment?). I also have to pack, and I need to do so early because I need to figure out what cold-weather clothes I'm still lacking.
I am nervous, yo. I'm pretty much putting my life on hold for the next five months to go to another country and live on my own in autumn/winter, to study the language and culture. I know some Chinese, but not enough to hold even a simple conversation about basic ideas, and my accent is atrocious as well. I don't even know whether there's a Christmas break so I can head home for Christmas. I have the feeling there is one; the particular university I'm going to caters to foreign students, so probably? If there is no break, I'm going to spend Christmas alone in a foreign country away from family. (Unless they come over to visit. I don't know if they will).
I've never actually been separated from family this long before. I have gone on two study tours, but those lasted no more than a couple of months each. Also, the first time (to Canada), I was with my brothers. The second time (Taiwan), I was on my own, but it was a study tour so everything was structured and I pretty much had no time to miss anyone.
Also, I've never been anywhere where it was autumn or winter. The closest I have ever been to cold is spring. I did see snow, once, for two days. It was on the trip to Canada, April so summer for the Philippines, but late spring over there. We went to Whistler. It snowed \o/.
Trying to think of how I'll handle cold. I've been to hmm. Baguio and Tagaytay, high in the mountains here, where it gets pleasantly cool but not freezing. I've also been to California thrice (four times? five times?), mostly when I was a kid, and always in the spring. There was one time in late October, as well, for a week. I guess that was summer heading into autumn? And then there was the trip to Canada, which was for a couple of months, but again, spring heading into summer. Then Korea! During Holy Week, and it was pretty chilly, and it actually snowed in the country, but not where we were. In general, I like cool weather -- the cooler and crisper, the better. But mildly cool is different from bitterly cold. It's supposed to reach ten or fifteen below zero in winter in Beijing. WTF-ety fork?
My experience with the weather has generally gone: summer (hot). Rainy season (hot and humid). That bit where it's not summer and not rainy (hot, but less unpleasantly so). Oh god. Trying to think about how autumn and winter must feel like is about to make my head explode.
My relatives are just doing what they think is best for me, I'm sure, but their warnings about frostbite are beginning to freak me out
. Nose, ears, fingers, toes. Nose, ears, fingers, toes. Also, people keep giving me scarves. I love everyone who's given me a scarf, but I'm not sure I can use them all. I have six now, and fast approaching the point where I could just wrap myself in all the scarves I own and stroll down the street without being arrested for indecent exposure.
And then, oh um cold weather stuff. Scarves I have plenty of. Layers of shirts and sweaters I hope I have enough *crosses fingers*. Pants I think I lack, and anything I can layer on under there. I have gloves! But not mittens. I have umm these fur-lined boots? Would I need indoor slippers as well? I'm not sure whether indoors is heated or not. Logic says "might be", experience has absolutely no clue. I have a hat! Maybe two. Errrrm. What else do I need?
Advice on what to wear is conflicting, by the way. Lots of warnings about wearing blah and blah and blah so I won't freeze, but then other people warn me that I don't need to wear so much because I'm going to be indoors all the time. I don't know, who should I trust? I can't trust my own experience. In my experience, layering clothes goes like so: put on several layers of clothing, stand for two seconds and admire self in the mirror, quickly realize that layers are hoooot and doff as many of them as possible.
Nose, fingers, toes, nose fingers, toes. Nose, fingers, ears
, toes. Hoo boy.
INTERNET ACCESS, damn you Great Firewall of China. However, I have plans and with ciaran_h
's help, will probably be able to tunnel through, but shhh. Discretion, etc
I applied for thirty units of an advanced course which, when I think about it now, is probably insane, considering how little I know. Here's the thing, Modern Chinese pronunciation(?) is transcribed using pinyin (alphabet) instead of the guoyin(...Chinese alphabet?) I'm used to. Modern Chinese writing uses simplified Chinese instead of the traditional script I'm used to. And then there's the fact that my Chinese skills are shaky in the first place.
I shall be in Beijing, the northern city. I may visit the Great Wall. That would be cool.