Saturday, September 26, 2015

Overcoming the fear of the unknown

„Thinking will not overcome fear but action will.“
W. Clement Stone

Fear – we often feel it at times when we don’t really expect it and for reasons that we don’t even want to admit to ourselves. Because how can I be scared of something that I have been wanting for years?

This is exactly what I felt before leaving the one and only place that I can actually call home. To be honest, I have never been so scared in my life and I have no idea why I felt like this. But when I saw my sweet little Estonia from the plane and when I set my foot in China for the first time in six years, it all hit me. For the next 5 months I will be living in a city with more than 20 million people and among the 20 million I don’t really know anyone. My family and friends will be thousands of kilometers away and from now on it’s just me.

But you would be surprised to know how quickly this feeling went away. Okay, the first day was honestly pretty bad because after waiting in the passport check line for 2 hours, sitting in traffic jams for almost 3 hours and getting lost in the campus, I finally made it to my dormitory, where there was no internet and no roommate waiting for me.

My first reaction was to just throw myself on my bed, which actually looked pretty comfortable at first, but lets just say I could not have been more wrong. I literally could not breathe because well my bed is actually a wooden plate which is covered with a 3cm mattress and therefore the fall was pretty painful.

Luckily my survival instincts started working after staying in my dorm room for about 10 minutes (the last meal I had was on the plane about 8 hours ago) and therefore I just knocked on my neighbors doors to find someone who could help me to find food and access internet. My mission was successful and from that point on everything started going upwards. Even though there are times when I feel like I want to scream because of all this bureaucracy I have had to handle, there are so many people here who are dealing with the same kinds of issues and there is nothing that a glass of wine with nice people couldn’t solve.

But overall it seems that I have managed to fill out most of the paperwork and solve all of the issues related to registration, visas, bank accounts, internet etc. Therefore I am now the proud owner of a Chinese SIM-card, bank account, meal card, Student ID and other cool things.

My first meal in one of the cafeterias. Price: less than 1 euro

One of the cafeterias in the campus. Note: you will actually never see none of the cafeterias this empty. The place was actually closed (all the places are closed between 13.30-16.30), but we pretended not to understand the angry Chinese women who were screaming at us (actually most of the time we didn't have to pretend since we actually did not understand most of it). 
This is my new home: Building no. 6, Asian Youth Center. As far as I know, it is the newest and best-looking dormitory in the whole campus. Not to mention the fact that we have the coolest people living here. 

I should also point out that I also managed to purchase my first bicycle ever (30 euros for a new bike didn’t seem like a bad deal). Everyone who knows my experiences with bikes understands how badly this sounds because lets just say that if there is a tree or a lamp post somewhere on the street, you can be sure that I will probably crash into it. So far I have actually been quite successful, but riding a bike in Beijing still seems like this big scary roller coaster to me (describing the traffic rules in Beijing would probably need a separate post).By the end of this semester I should be able to ride with a bike on the streets (where there are no rules and traffic lights don't really matter) while holding an umbrella in one and a mobile in other hand.

Although I actually have so many stories to tell it doesn't feel right to fit all this information into one blog post. Therefore I promise that next time I will tell you more about China, Tsinghua University and my adventures in this amazing city. I can just tell you that I am pretty sure that coming here was one of the best choices I have ever done and I could not be happier! Everything in here is so different and so interesting and every day I learn something new.

The Beijing Olympic Park and The Water Cube at night. 

The Bird's Nest

But until then, be safe, travel and enjoy life (because I know I will).

Yours truly,


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