Saturday, July 26, 2008

Starting Over

I don't know why exactly I stopped writing. In fact, so much has happened in the last three months that I wouldn't even know where to start, were I to catch up from April 24th on.

What I do know, however, is that I have missed blogging. I read through my old entries and wish I'd kept with it, if anything just to laugh at my predictions for the future. The only excuse I have (and it isn't much of one at all) is that so much was happening, so fast, that I felt overwhelmed by it all and eventually gave up on blogging about it and focused on just surviving life in Dalian.

SO! I have decided to bring back the blog. I am spending another semester in Dalian, another five months in China altogether starting on Monday, and my first step in the grand scheme of my life is to outline some goals. (Hey, baby steps.)

1. In the next five months, I want to update at least three times a week (when internet access is available)
2. I want to focus less on making money and socializing and more on becoming proficient in Chinese.
3. I want to seriously consider taking the HSK.
4. I want to NOT know exactly what I want to do, but perhaps do research into grad schools or other career paths post-graduation.
5. I want to spend no more than 500 kuai a week (~70 USD)
6. I want to talk to my sister at least once a week.


For those who are interested, a brief recap of the last three months:
-May Holiday was a week on the Yangtze River, and a day in Chongqing/Dazu and a few hours in Beijing, during which I really started to become close with Andy Z and Leanna
-I returned to training with the Dalian Wolfhounds Gaelic Football Team
-Celebrated Cinco de Mayo with Kathleen and some close friends
-Sichuan Earthquake hit on May 12 and while we were about as far away in China as possible, it was extremely impressive how the country reacted
-My expat friends started getting stopped for visas and passports quite frequently
-Went to a housewarming party of another friend...became very social in general
-Went back to Beijing the weekend of the 16-18 with BCA again, met with Etowners
-Cancelled my trip to Shanghai for my birthday and celebrated with friends in Dalian
-However, because of the 3 day bar ban that resulted from the May 12 Sichuan Earthquake the week before we didn't really have anywhere to go after dinner
-Went to Beijing for the All China Gaelic Games June 6-8 => so far, the best weekend of my life
-My father visited the second week of June and after seeing Binhai Lu and Xinghai Square, loved the city
-Started tutoring a Korean student in Math and English for the Dalian minimum: 150 rmb/21.50 USD an hour
-A friend opened up a bar/restaurant called Brooklyn that is doing extremely well among the expats
-Come June, everyone started leaving! Expat turnover in smaller cities like Dalian is constant
-Finals were a mess! I really lost focus the last two weeks of the semester
-Went to Shanghai July 6th, met some friends, left the 9th back to the States
-Since being back in the States, haven't done much, but did go to Cape May, NJ to stay with Andy Z for a few days, then stopped in Philly on the way home to visit Amiekay for a night as well
-Yesterday was my sister's 12th birthday, but my father and I have had huge issues discussing my Future so I am currently living with Lys, Ryan and Nikol in their new apartment and feel bad about not being close to my sister
-Was not wanting to go back to China because of pre-Olympic madness, but since row with father, don't really know where I want to be right now. The US has my friends, but I can't stay at home; while Shanghai is extremely humid and housing is tricky...was going to travel but now don't know since my funds are low and my parents might not want to help me with expenses anymore....

So that's a decent, if not brief, overview of what my life has become in Dalian and the summer so far. I'll write more in the morning, I'm exhausted from the last two days of family drama.

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