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After Lisa had left, I only had about one week left until I had to say Goodby China as well. I cannot believe how fast my time in China had come to and end. I am writing this blog post from San Diego, but let me tell you about my last week in China, which actually was quite nice and eventful.
My last few days in Beijing – Goodbye China
First of all, I had to do some packing and shipping of course. I packed all my stuff that I would not need right away into one of my suitcases and went to the airport to send it to the US as cargo. Several of my German friends in San Diego had done that, when it was their time to move back to Germany, as it was one of the cheapest and fastest ways to get some of the heavy and bulky items back home.
Well, as usual, in China things are always a little more complicated! I took a cab to the airport and asked at the information desk for the cargo check in. Well, unfortunately, the Chinese lady that was helping me, did not speak English very well. She kept on asking me for my ticket, which of course I did not have, as I was not planning on flying anywhere yet. I tried to explain to her, that I wanted to send my suitcase as cargo, while I will fly out next week. She kept on repeating that I could not check in more than 2 hours before departure! And when I repeated cargo, all I got was a blank stare. Well, my only option to get my suitcase back home to San Diego was by shipping it by regular mail. Even though it was much more expensive than I had hoped, it was still a lot cheaper than paying for extra weight.
Goodbye China – Farewell to my colleagues
Then, I also had to say goodbye to my dear colleagues and my boss! They had organized a wonderful Goodbye China lunch for me and even gave me a present! Even though I had some problems adjusting to the Chinese working culture and I experienced some true culture clashes with them, they were always trying to help me and supported me! When things went a little bit different from what I had planned, it was definitely my fault, because I assumed, thought and anticipated it from a completely different cultural perspective! I am very grateful for their help and support that they have given me over the course of these 6 months and they made so many things possible for me, that I could not have done without their help! A big thank you to you all!
During my last week, I also finally had the chance to meet up with Philipp! Philipp was introduced to me by a dear friend of mine from my university. He had studied at CIBU in San Diego as well and now lives in Beijing. Philipp and I had made plans to meet up several times, but somehow it never happened! We met up several times during my last week in China and we had a lot of fun together! However, the most memorable trip was on my very last day in Beijing. Philipp took me to the park overlooking the Forbidden City and we had an amazing, if not a bit smoggy view. But the best thing about it: I had brought some delicious wine from Germany and we celebrated my last day, enjoying the amazing view, drinking a Franconian Bocksbeutel and chatting away. This park is not as frequented by foreigners, so we drew quite some attention among the mainly Chinese crowed. As Philipp’s Chinese was pretty good, we were constantly chatted up by Chinese tourists that asked us about the funny shaped bottle and what we were doing here. We really had a blast!
Goodbye China – Leaving with Mixed Feelings
I left China with very mixed feelings! On the one hand, I was looking forward to the “easy life” in the US, where I could communicate, find my way around without having to rely on other people’s help and seeing my friends of course. But on the other hand, I knew that one of the biggest adventures of my life had ended. I asked myself whether I had made the most of my stay in China and to be honest, I am not sure I did! I experienced a lot of great things, but could I have done/seen/learned/experienced more? I certainly could have! Often, I felt overwhelmed by the strangeness of this country, so I hid in my own little world of more familiar things, whether it was watching movies, writing blog posts, chatting with my friends or eating at Western restaurants. It was hard for me, to understand the Chinese culture, as I am quite the opposite of what you would consider “typical Chinese”. I like to plan things, be independent and do things on my own. My time in China was a great adventure and experience. I learned a lot about myself, who I am, what I want and how to get through tough times. It also taught me to accept help from others yet be more independent than ever.
Thank you China!!!
Want to read about my adventure from the beginning?