5 weeks in

I’ve been out of quarantine for just over five weeks. The only constant is change. Life, how I feel, how I relate to it, all comes in waves of various sizes and intensities. Surf’s up.

  1. The newness of life in China is starting to wear off. I no longer want to spend all my time exploring, pop in to every shop and restaurant, look at every item, shake the snow globe of this society and watch where the flakes settle and shift. My mindset is shifting to longer-term and more personal goals. Learn Chinese, strengthen my body to get out of pain, cook at home, have down time alone to do what I would enjoy no matter which country I might live in.
  2. My #1 goal is still to learn Chinese. As it turns out, learning Chinese is hard. I just hit my 100 day streak on Duolingo, finished the beginner course on Immersive Chinese, have three lessons a week with a tutor, am working my way through a textbook, and have a stack of flash cards, and I can barely function in society. I can’t tell you the number of times someone has said words I already know to me but I didn’t understand or recognize them. Reading, speaking, listening, pinyin-based typing, and handwriting are all very different skills and all need to be practiced.
  3. I still have two phones. Bills in two countries. My own IRA retirement accounts to fund in the US. A hand stirring each pot. Also, I need to figure out how to send remittances to myself in the US from my Chinese salary. China likes money coming in, not so much money going out. You have to declare and pay taxes on any money that leaves the country and fill out a bunch of forms and for some reason three banks have to be involved.
  4. I want to send and receive care packages. This would be pretty simple in the US, but here I have no idea how it works. I had to research write an entire document of instructions for my US based friends to send things to me here. I still have no idea how to send things out, though. Everything I’ve read says DHL is extremely expensive and I should use Chinese postal services, but mentally and emotionally I am just at an impasse with it. I’ll get there.
  5. Raise your hand if you have a hard time sitting in stillness. You might want to try learning a new language, because it will suck up 100% of your free time. Do you have a free thirty seconds waiting in line? Deep meditative breathing and gratitude practice? No! Pull out your flashcards and get a few more words down. On the plus side, you will never be bored, lonely, or restless again. Speaking of which I have to finish my Duolingo lesson now, so, uh, I gotta go.




Anna is a language nerd currently located in China.

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Anna Ka

Anna Ka

Anna is a language nerd currently located in China.

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