So this is the new year. And I don’t feel any different.

As I watch the last hours of 2020 ticking away, I have no feelings of excitement or gratitude or hope or even relief. I know nothing will change. In the absence of hope, my tired trust and belief will have to be enough. Because I do believe that I will get through whatever 2021 throws my way. We’ll get through it together.

I get so excited by "real" Chinese food that I don't think to take a photo until the food is gone! So you'll just have to trust me that those cleaned up dishes once held 椒盐豆腐 and 干扁豆角 and 松鼠鱼 and 豆苗 and more...

A year away from China

A year ago today I said goodbye to China. Sometimes it’s hard to believe it’s been so long! I still feel connected to China and leap at any opportunity to talk about China. Here are some things I miss about Beijing, but ALSO things I am loving about Sydney. It’s important to acknowledge what I’ve lost while also appreciating what I’ve gained.

Sharing a piece of China life with new friends during the tea tasting afternoon I hosted.

Re-entry: my first four months

I’ve been here 4+ months now; it’s been 9 months since I left China. Life has felt different, easier, over the past month – which made more clear how difficult the first few months were. Each month is easier and more enjoyable than the one before – I can’t ask for much more than that.

Used To

Call it transition, call it grief, call it whatever you like, the result is that I just feel tired. But I was inspired by a list of “used to”s – things she used to do, and things she’s getting used to now. I thought it was an interesting way to reflect on how different the details of life can be during a transition. So here are my own “used to” lists…

Adjusting to a different international community

People keep asking me about re-entry, and whether I’m struggling to re-adjust. The problem is, I’m starting again, more than returning to something. One big difference community living rather than abundant solitude. One similarity is the international flavour of the community I am living in. It’s also lovely to start reconnecting to the culture of my passport country – its beaches and parks, at least!

The first week of my new life

I have now been at SMBC for a whole week – so here are some stories from my first week of my new life here in Sydney, Australia. I am amazed at how settled and content I feel just one week in. I do expect the weight of the transition to hit at some point, but I live on a lovely campus with lovely people and am enjoying the study so far.

Hitting the half way mark

I lived a third of my life in China; I miss speaking Mandarin on a daily basis. I’ve been feeling very in-between. I feel far from China, and far from Australia, but I know I don’t totally belong here, either. Australia is looming closer. The more I think about it, the harder it hits that I have left the only life I know, and am heading into something very unknown.