Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Guest Blogger! Jacob on moving to China!

So, you guys remember my adventures in China, right? I moved there for three months? It was crazytown... Any of this ringing any bells? No? Fine, here.

Anyway. This was written by my good friend Jacob. We went to school together, we've traveled a lot together, we studied Mandarin together, and now, he's going moving to China like I did! He's leaving today and won't be back until May. Crazytown! Anyway, give him some love and support - if he's feeling at all like I did when  I moved, he's going to need it!
I've recently come to the realization that you don't really fully consider a move until right before leaving. The last move I made to another country occurred when I was 8 and moving with my family to the Netherlands so that my dad could take an international job assignment with his company. Not only was I too young at that age to understand what was going on, I also had my family with me, which defrayed the fear of it all. Now, at the age of 21, fully able to comprehend the results of my actions, I have finally reached the last week or so before moving to Shanghai all by myself for 3 months. It is both extremely empowering and utterly terrifying.

While most friends I know study abroad over the summer, I decided to study abroad this semester in China because I was ahead of my degree plan and didn't want to graduate a semester early because I have no idea what I'm doing with my life (I don't want to grow up if you aren't able to tell). I first chose to go to Shanghai rather than Beijing because I've already been to Beijing and have contacts there. I wanted the opportunity to branch out and create a community in another Chinese city. You never know when it will come in handy. I leave on Valentine's Day (I know, depressing), and will be working at Shanghai Family Health Hospital and Clinics. I have the exciting tasks of research, preparing and participating in fundraising events, and speaking with NGOs that work with the hospital to write program proposals for their needs. Pretty cool, right?

I saw this opportunity to go to China as a blessing, a chance to experience a change of pace from the usual college life I was used to. I was still surrounded by my friends every day, taking classes, and living my life when I made this decision. This internship is going to look so good on my résumé, I thought to myself. I'd gain some experience, then be back with my friends in Texas in the blink of an eye. It wasn't until everyone went back to school for the spring semester and I did not that my tune changed. This period has acted as a transition before moving; I'm not in a foreign country yet, but I am having to deal with life without my friends. As much as I hate to admit that I am afraid of anything, this has been a scary process. Having to leave friends that I just met this semester has been difficult because our new relationships will have to be temporarily disrupted. Leaving my close friends has been even harder. I've been haunted by thoughts like, what if I can't find friends in Shanghai, or even worse, what if my friends back home move on without me while I'm gone? I've even wondered if, on the flip side, I'll want to come back when my 3 months are up. It has been an incredibly trying time for me. But at the end of the day, I'm going to China, there's no denying or changing that. There's no use freaking out about what if's when they'll only create even more fear. I've accepted the fact that in order to grow as a person, I need to go to China and experience life on my own. There will be hardships, but there will also be great achievements and adventures. After countless sleepless nights fretting over my insecurities, I am ready to pack my bags and get on that plane. I am ready for whatever these 3 months will hand me, and even more ready for the period of self-discovery and progress that is waiting for me. 加油!

Jacob is a student at Texas A&M majoring in International Studies. This is mainly how he and Valorie met. But the real essence of their friendship can be summarized by their mutual experiences with 13 hour delays in Hotlanta, pub crawls, and rants over ineffective language instruction. Oh, and New Girl. Jacob blogs at La Vie Quotidienne. You can also follow him on twitter @olivezzzz. He loves cooking, traveling, and meeting new people!


  1. Good luck, in China, Jacob! I know this will be an experience you will treasure.

  2. Thank you so much Jennifer! :)


Commenting? How lovely. Please try not to talk about dead cats.