learning Chinese

Learning Chinese again, people! I arrived almost two months late. Why? I thought classes started around the second week of September, for that’s when they told me to arrive last year. So, I just assumed I needed to be back around that time. Besides my stupidity, I didn’t have a passport.

learning Chinese
My NEW passport! I waited a long time for you, sweetheart!

Before I left for China in September 2015, I knew my passport would expire in less than a year. My Daddy told me to apply for a new one before leaving Suriname, but I was so happy I would FINALLY be going to China, I brushed it off. “I’ll get it done when I’m there. There’s an embassy in Beijing.” Now, at that time, I had no idea how far Xiamen is from Beijing. I know, I know, I should’ve talked to Google Maps beforehand, but I’m stubborn… What can I say?

I arrived in Xiamen, applied for a new passport in March of this year, but I was too late. Apparently you need to do that six months before the expiration date. Wonder why all of that important information isn’t written on their website. It would have saved me a lot of trouble and a lot of money. The expiration date was July 11, so when I hadn’t received my new passport by the first week of that month, I knew I had to go home. Apparently the passports aren’t made here in China, but in Suriname. Don’t ask me why, I’ve been asking myself that question for a while. Well, turns out my passport (and that of many others) couldn’t be made in time, because there was no material back home to do so.

July 9 I flew out of Xiamen to Amsterdam, spent almost twelve hours there before catching a flight back home. It was exhausting. The flight from Xiamen to Amsterdam takes up to eleven hours. You can imagine how tired I was… and how badly I craved a shower. I also don’t think I need to tell you that I smelled like dead dog when I boarded my flight back home.

When I arrived back home, I was happy… Happy to see my parents, my sister, my niece, and even my cousins. Being away from my family for so long made me value them more. Every single family has its problems, of course. Sometimes distance is really, really healthy. Family can drive you crazy, but they’re also the ones who will be there for you no matter what. Oh, you’re wondering about my passport? Well, they made it and sent it to China. A friend of mine my hairdresser sent me a message on WeChat, so that’s how I knew.

Though I was excited to be learning Chinese again,  I did enjoy the time with my loved ones, especially with my parents.

learning Chinese
Xiamen City in Fujian Province – Image Source

I know… Xiamen Island is beautiful, right? Sadly, I don’t live there. I live on “mainland China.” I googled Xiamen before I came here, so I was pretty excited I would be living in such a beautiful place! Imagine how confused I was when I didn’t see any of the pretty buildings around. “Where am I? Is this Xiamen?,” I asked Nelsen. “It is a part of Xiamen, yes, but we’re not on the island.” Darn it!

learning Chinese
I’m eating something I don’t know the name of… LOL! Bought it at Schiphol while waiting for my flight to Xiamen in October.

All of my teachers were happy when I told them I would be returning in October. I was happy as well. Learning Chinese has always been on my bucket list. Besides, one year of learning Chinese is not enough. The language is simple, but pretty complicated at the same time.  Chinese is not a language one should learn by themselves or just by listening to audio tapes. You need to speak it 24 hours a day. Believe me, the pronunciation can be a headache. Also, one of the hardest things I’ve had to do so far, is reading the newspaper… in Chinese. It’s not easy! So, with my new passport in hand, I left for China again the first week of October. This time I only spent five hours at Schiphol. I had a delicious smoothie!

learning Chinese
An organic smoothie I discovered in July, when I spent half a day at Schiphol Airport. Tried a different flavor this time. Strawberries and… uhm… some other berries, carrots and some lime juice.

Oh, I forgot to mention this, but the trip from Suriname to Amsterdam was amazing! Thanks to my ex-colleagues,  I had an entire row to myself. I slept the entire flight, for I didn’t get much sleep the days before. That time was spent with meeting friends, having dinner and drinking some alcohol with family, and some much needed quiet and quality time with my SO.

I was more than half a day away from learning Chinese again. Just hoped my flight to China would be as comfortable as  the one to Amsterdam.

I boarded my flight to Xiamen around 12:30 or close to 13:00. Have no idea why, but I was still exhausted. The flight didn’t go as I’d hoped, for I didn’t have an entire row to myself again. I was bummed out at first, but I have to admit that it was one of the most pleasant flights I’ve had in a while. Sitting next to me was a lovely couple. She’s Brazilian, he’s Australian. It really was a pleasant flight. I do hope I get to see her again.

Well, I’m off for now. My second year isn’t easy.