Alrighty, well, I’ve never been particularly talented in regards to gracefully starting a blog, so I’m just going to go for it (you guys don’t need to be eased into this, you’ll be fine). 🙂
Basic background information: Garrett and I will be going to China as a part of the Central Arizona College’s (CAC) Chinese Exchange Program with Northeastern University (NEU) in Shenyang Province, China! Woo! We’ll be leaving in late February so as to hopefully arrive at NEU in time for school to start on March 1st. There’s so much to do before we leave, though!
Dean Foster gave us the wonderful suggestion that we might consider keeping blogs, not only to keep in touch back home and to hopefully help against homesickness, but also to help out future exchange students for CAC so that they’ll know how we prepared for the trip and potentially avoid any difficulties we may have encountered. Truly, one of the most helpful tools we’ve had (speaking for both of us… well, I know it’s been one of the most helpful tools for me, anyhow) has been Dean Foster’s blog from when she was in China! I hope that I’ll be able to keep mine as up-to-date and complete as hers seemed to be! I’m not 100% sure that WordPress will work in China, but it’s free and I won’t need to pay a monthly fee to update it or keep it live. According to the firewall tests I’ve run with the domain just through the Internet, it should be okay throughout China. I really hope that’s the case; if not, I’ll just make a new one and email it home. Mum can update you all for me. 🙂
It was a month yesterday since Garrett and I got the calls that we’d be headed to China. On top of school and everything else (describing my laundry list won’t do a single person any good), it’s just all sorts of stressful to think about. We’ve got so much to do! I’m fairly certain that for right now, getting the acceptance letters from NEU so that we can apply for our visas is at the top of the to-do list. It sounds like a lengthy process, so I’m glad that we’re going to be asking Hope (a travel agent who works in some capacity or another with CAC) for help with that. But then even aside from that, we’ve got to deal with our airline tickets. I’m beyond thankful that Garrett seems to know so well what he’s doing with airline prices… that can be his talent. I’ll interpret on the train we’re anticipating to take to NEU upon our arrival in China. Sounds fun. 🙂 But even still, we’ve got to figure out what we do and don’t need to pack, get our class schedules figured out, get any more immunizations we may need… I still haven’t even figured out the massive culture divide. I have no idea what I’m going to do about church in China, and I’m still freaking out just a little bit. That’s kind of a big deal.
For the last year and a half, I’ve taken between 21-25 credits per semester. I don’t point that out for the sake of bragging, by any means. It’s a lot to deal with, and if anyone can avoid it, I highly recommend it doing so. However, I will say, perhaps the greatest thing that it taught me was how to take one day at a time. Make sure everything gets done, but don’t look too far ahead – just take what you’re given and go with it. I really need to sit down and let that happen with China. Worrying about what’s going to happen in March is really not doing anyone any good; I can only do so much without that letter from NEU, anyway. 🙂
Almost immediately after Garrett and I were accepted we created QQ IDs so that we’d be able to communicate not only with Vincent, Natasha, and Sun Laoshi (the two Chinese exchange students to CAC this semester, as well as the teacher who came), but also with each other and our friends back home who may have accounts. My QQ ID number is 2811696467. I also made a RenRen account (admittedly, it was a little more difficult, as the website is entirely in Chinese. My Chinese name is 玛格丽, by the way. Fun stuff. 😛 I’ll get around to setting up a Weibo and whatever the other one is that I’m missing eventually, too.
So long as there’s stuff to be patient about and waiting for, I wonder, should I bring my violin or guitar to China? Certainly not both, but I definitely hope for one. Hmm.