Mental and Physical Exhaustion

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I’ve been so busy with homework, but I’ve fortunately been able to see an acrobatics show, visit the Beijing Zoo, and hike along the Great Wall. Continue reading

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Departure Day!

MSP Airport 6.10.14

Today, I woke up around 3:00 am in order to have enough time to get through baggage check and security. Although I had plenty of time before boarding my first flight, I am glad to have been safe than sorry. I’m in Detroit now, waiting to board the plane to Beijing!

When the plane in Minneapolis took off, I was hit with a lot of emotion – happiness, excitement, nervousness, reprieve, and even sadness. It was such a relief to be on the plane and know that all the hard work from last semester has brought me to this point. Of course, I was very happy and excited to make my first flight on this trip. Part of me also suddenly felt sad because I thought, I am going back to China, where I was born. I am going back and my birthparents don’t even know. They don’t know I will be in Beijing, learning Mandarin and Chinese culture. They don’t know the work I’ve put into this moment nor any of my pondering about whether I would actually return to China or not.

A lot of what has been happening feels surreal. I hope I don’t break down when I get on the flight to China, but it may bring even more emotion, especially when I first see the Peking airport, hopefully around 2:30 pm on June 11, 2014. Here’s to the start of an incredible, new, and challenging adventure!

 

Less Than One Day Until Departure

Why did I choose to study abroad?

Studying abroad in Beijing this summer was actually a very difficult decision for me. Since I’m planning to graduate a year early, my summers in between fall and spring semesters are limited. Last summer, I participated in a research program, and this summer is my last before completing my undergraduate career. A part of me felt that I should pursue an internship in the U.S. instead, so it would help me gain work experience before possibly searching for a job after graduation. Plus, studying abroad is expensive, and it takes a lot of work just applying and preparing for it!

Despite this, however, I decided this summer would be the best opportunity for me to go, especially since I’m not able to fit a year-long or semester-long study abroad into my regular academic-year schedule. Additionally, this opportunity helps me learn and better understand the culture of my birth. Even though I’m generally interested in Chinese culture, a big factor is because of my adoption from Xiamen, China. I believe committing myself to this abroad program will help me gain confidence in speaking Chinese, traveling internationally, and dealing with unfamiliar places and people. I also hope I can apply my credits toward a minor in Asian Languages and Literatures when I return. If nothing else, I’ll be able to see China with my own eyes and create my own memories that aren’t told secondhand from adoption photos and stories. Besides, when will I have another chance to study language in China for two months? Although I’m nervous about being so far away from friends and family, I am glad I made this decision.  Continue reading

Six Days Until Departure

Traveling is a lot of work. Over the last four months, I’ve learned how much effort and planning goes into just preparing for study abroad: application material, health records, transportation needs, scholarship essays, financial planning, and documentation on top of regular course work was much more work than I anticipated. I am happy to have come this far in the process, but I feel the semester has gone by too fast. After completing finals and returning home, I’ve tried to complete last-minute preparations for study abroad while allocating enough time to spend with friends and family.

With less than one week away from departure, I’m still organizing everything I need for the summer in China, and I haven’t thought much more about what to expect emotionally while I’m there as an adoptee and Asian American.

The stress of balancing study abroad deadlines with regular classes has passed, but now I am becoming more nervous about my time away. This is not only my first time traveling alone but it’s also my first time returning to China since my adoption. However, I’ve also been feeling a bit indifferent about being an adoptee from China; perhaps it’s because I have had to focus on other things, or perhaps it’s because I’m putting the adoption thoughts away again, so they don’t interfere with my plans.

Overall, I am very excited for study abroad, but I am also exhausted from all the preparation needed for it. No matter what, though, I am determined to get more out of this opportunity than the price tag and time needed for it. I need to do this for myself and for the people supporting me on this journey. 加油!