It’s been a year today since I arrived in Dalian. As when I returned from 11 months in Africa I have to ask where the time has gone? It doesn’t seem a minute ago that I was touching down and nervously being thrown into teach my first class. Since then through the months I have gained confidence and now consider myself a competent ESL teacher. I came here with the main focus to save money, which is still my primary focus however much of me coming here was always the challenge of a new lifestyle. Over the factories one had little choice! I have done my best to embrace my Chinese lifestyle. I can say I am pushing past people, spitting and using chopsticks like my fellow man here. I’ve also made some great friends. However my biggest regret since being here is not learning the language. I can say a few words, but have been lazy. I know upon leaving I will regret it. I still have time, but I know what I’m like!
Of course there will always be regrets. The important thing is to not dwell on them and focus on the positives, of which there have been many this past year. I feel proud that I have blossomed into a teacher. Granted it’s not rocket science, there are certain insecurities I’ve always had, like talking in front of crowds which I feel I have overcome. I’ve also surprised myself with my spelling. It’s not half as bad as I assumed it to be!
Spirituality has never been something I’ve had to force or focus on. I feel it’s always been a part of my being. However of course we can always grow and develop our understanding with ourselves and the universe. I feel the past year has been a great time for reflection and to be more focused on the ‘physical’. Life on the road can be tough on your body, and Africa certainly gave me a few blows. A couple of months after arriving I decided to join a Gym. My juice fast soon followed, which was simultaneously a highly Physical and Spiritual experience. With that, it seemed almost fluid that I was to start Yoga. As soon as I began I can say I was hooked. It was the challenge I needed once the initial challenge of teaching dissipated. And I can confirm it’s definitely the best thing I have taken from the last year. It’s part of my routine and gets me through those days when I really want to get back on the road! I am in the best physical shape I’ve ever been in and hope to continue improving.
Apart from my Spiritual activities I’ve also felt I’ve learnt a lot about my relationships. I quickly realised I needed to change my outlook on this, as I found myself in one spot not being able to ‘move on’, as I usually do. Without going into too much detail I can say that it has been great to develop a greater understanding of my this part of my psyche. I’m getting better, but reckon I still have a bit of work to do!
I have to say I find it quite funny how I assume what a ‘year’ is for me. I tend to ignore the traditional Solar Calendar and have been for the past few years, instead choosing to categorize each year by the start and end of my various travelling adventures. The start of my last adventure started this time last year… So I see this as a special time. A time for reflection and to analyze my next step. Well, for now the next step is just to remain patient. I still fully intend to cycle back to the UK, and am close to purchasing a frame to start building a bike. However weather and, more importantly money are restricting my movements. I am enjoying life here and will make a definite decision come Spring. As much as I prefer running on impulse I feel this is a good period, ‘chapter’ if you will, to look at the grand scheme of things. As much as I hate being dictated by money, its a reality we all are faced with… Another year will certainly improve my financial situation, which has never been good! haha
So what the next year will hold I’m not sure, however this is the way I like it, and I am certain that whatever does happen, I will be happy.
A few memories from the past year!