Living in China – Week 1

Greetings from Nanjing, China!

As I’m writing this post, Taylor and I have officially been living in China for one full week. This is my first post about our time in China so far, and it will be unlike anything I’ve ever posted before. It’s not the typical short vacation away with amazing pictures and adventures, because we’ve actually moved across the world and this is life for us now.

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Taylor and I had been anxiously awaiting our move to China for months. We dreamed of all the travel opportunities and envisioned an amazing experience living abroad. The two of us would talk for hours about all the places we wanted to go and everything we’d get to see in Asia. The job Taylor accepted here offered us housing, transportation, great pay, and a lot of travel benefits. Before we moved, I wrote down all the amazing travel posts I was going to write and even considered starting a YouTube channel about our lives here. Then we got here, and reality hit me.

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If I’m being super open and vulnerable about my experiences so far, things haven’t been great for me. I don’t know if my hopes were too high or maybe I just didn’t exactly think about how drastic of a move this was going to be, but it’s been one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done. Adjusting to the time has been rough. China is exactly 12 hours ahead of America right now, so I spent the first few days awake all night and tired all day. For the past week, I’ve woken up every morning feeling so incredibly homesick that I cry all morning long. I haven’t gone one day without crying yet. My anxiety has flared up so significantly in just one week, that I have to lie down and try to control my breathing. Afternoons and evenings are a little better than mornings.

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A lot of people have been asking me what the hardest part is, and I honestly don’t know. I don’t think it’s just one aspect. I think it’s a million little things, so I feel extremely uncomfortable all the time. Although I’m here with Taylor, I feel incredibly isolated. I’m craving the comfort of things that used to be normal for me. There’s no family around, the food is drastically different, Maybelle isn’t here, I don’t have coffee, and almost nothing is westernized. I can’t eat and I can’t sleep.

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Taylor has been my rock through it all. He’s great at comforting me and keeping me busy and calm, while trying to give me hope. He’s adjusting perfectly fine and loving his new job, but I think it’s hard for him to see me so upset. I know we’ve only been here one week, but to me it feels like an eternity. Whenever I think about living in China, I start panicking and beg to go home. This behavior is so unlike me, because I typically love seeking adventure and traveling all over the world.

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I wasn’t expecting this setback at all. I’ve struggled to sit down and write on the blog because I haven’t taken many photos, I still haven’t unpacked, and I’m not comfortable. I honestly feel like I don’t have any creative juice left in me. 2 years seems like a long way away, and at this point I’m not sure I have what it takes to stay here. I’ve been clinging to my family and their affirmative words, and I’m praying things get better. I’ve discovered that I really enjoy walking to the lake and people watching, because this area of Nanjing is more touristy. I know things will get better with time, but my fear is that I’ll go home for Christmas break and not want to come back. Or, that my friends and family will come visit and I’ll be heartbroken to see them go.

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I know this post isn’t what people were expecting. Everyone has been rooting for our move to China because we love traveling and have lived away from home before. However, I wanted to be open and honest, rather than hiding behind a smile in a few photos. Here’s to another week, and I’m praying my anxiety lessens and I can calm down enough to enjoy myself.

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We’ll be in Shanghai briefly this week, so hopefully I can take a lot of photos to share!

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