As a few of you who have followed this blog for a while know, I’m not a very happy person.
I cope, I chug along, I have a laugh and fun times with my friends but I don’t feel happy. I haven’t done for a long time now. There’s been shining bits of light in the darkness sure, but for many years I’ve not been happy.
In 2009 I broke up with my first girlfriend, we were together for two and half years and I honestly, call it passions of youth or naivety believed it was me and her, together forever. So as you can imagine when that came to an end I felt lost, scared, broken, alone, I went through a whole plethora of emotions which where added to the stress and emotion of leaving home that year and moving to University.
I got to University and hated my course, I swapped courses from Games Design to English Literature and Creative Writing, and I hated English Literature, so eventually I dropped that and swapped to Film and TV Screenwriting.
By this point, I wasn’t even sure what I wanted to do with my life anymore, I used to love science as a kid and I have a real passion for astronomy so in an ideal world I’d love to be an astronomer (as a kid I wanted to be an astronaut) but obviously due to various reasons I ended up here. Anyway, I digress.
Long story short, I went through a bad summer, got to University and had a really bad first year. Lots of drinking, self-harming, self-loathing etc, etc. I make it sound so dramatic and looking back it’s not like I was a mess who was supping on a liquor bottle but at the time, living through it I just remember it being rough. Eventually I swapped courses though, to something I really wanted to do, writing. It has always been a hobby and I’ve been writing since I was a kid, various stories, poems and songs etc. I focused less on the future and more on the now.
And then, in this “now” focused mind, I did something crazy and unlike me. I met this girl at University and I really liked her and she told me about an organisation called Camp Leaders who, for a fee, will help send you to work at a Summer Camp in America. And as you may know I paid that fee. On a whim. The biggest whim I have ever taken, which the more I think about it was done just to impress this girl.
It was an expensive whim.
But I went, and I did it. I traveled to Pennsylvania and worked in a summer camp for two months. So this summer was hard, and emotional too. But on a different scale. Being on a whole other continent was new to me. As was traveling on my own. There wasn’t much culture shock going over there, for all our differences us Brits and Americans are kind of similar. We speak the same language, we eat at the same big chain restaurants, and the same home consumed foods, we consume the same media (you gave us Breaking Bad, we gave you Doctor Who and Sherlock).
That said, being away from my familiar surroundings was certainly difficult.
There was one point where I nearly came home, I was seriously looking into coming home. Giving up, packing up and buggering off. But one phone call back home to my Dad and it brought it all reeling back to that moment.
Outside the staff room, the white plastic wireless handset held to my ear. My Dad’s voice, which I hadn’t heard in over a month, speaking to me. The sun burning my face.
He said I’d made it this far, I was at the half way point day by day heading to going home. So why give it up?
And he was right wasn’t he? Why give it up? So I decided screw it, I’m here and I’m not going anywhere and I powered through it and I enjoyed the experience even more. This was a mindset I brought home with me, if you put in the effort you’ll enjoy things a hell of a lot more.
But now, three years later it’s gone. Since coming home cycles have repeated themselves. I got into a relationship at University after coming back from America which lasted a year and a half and then this past year as you probably saw from my blog was another bad year. A repeat of the first, self-harming, drinking till I couldn’t remember, drinking till I punched two of my best friends and ran out in front of a car, drinking till I threw a dinner plate at my wall and cut myself with a smashed wine glass.
Falling in love with a girl I just wasn’t ever supposed to be with.
Meeting a girl who lived many many miles away which ultimately came between us.
One shit thing after the other till I sit here now, typing this post.
I’m not motivated, I’m not happy, and I don’t know what I want to do with my life. I’ve looked into teaching, I’ve looked into setting up my own work, I’ve looked at doing a master. Nothing inspires me anymore.
So why is this post called “Nihao: Working in China”? Well. I got an email last year with an opportunity to go work in China for a year, leaving this August just gone. I wanted to do it but in the end I was too scared.
I mean, it’s a whole year away. In a country where, unlike America there WILL be culture shock.
But, the more I think back on that summer at a camp in another country, in the middle of a forest, in the middle of nowhere and the sights I saw, and the things I did, and the things I experienced. Those two months where the most rewarding two months of my entire life. And I’ve stumbled across this website again offering the chance of working away.
And I want to do it. I’m going to have a good think about it but I want to do it on my gut instinct. I’ve spent today watching videos on YouTube of people who live out there or have traveled there and they speak of being an expat as the best thing they’ve ever done.
And I want to do it.
The funny thing is someone I’ve mentioned in this post, once said to me; “If we’re still speaking in a year or so maybe we should go work in China together.” And at the time I was like “yeah sure”, but if things had gone differently I seriously think I’d have done it.
We no longer speak, but it’d have certainly been an experience.
Anyway, if you’re still here after this very lengthy depressing post then you deserve an Oreo. Why an Oreo? Because, why not.