Lessons Learned in the First Month in China

“Lessons learned”… these are two words not everyone keeps in mind in their lifetime. Each day I become more aware of the fact that everyone learns, but some choose to ignore the lesson. We all make decisions based on what we think is good for us. Moving to China and learning Chinese is a dream come true, but I wasn’t prepared for some of the unpleasant things I experienced here. No article I had read online before coming here prepared me for that.

“Be prepared,” is what they say in The Lion King, but wow…

 Some of the most important lessons I learned were in China. They are things I already know, things I had already experienced earlier in life, but I guess that the lessons didn’t stick. As long as we don’t learn from our experiences, we will experience the same things over and over again, only in different settings (if we’re lucky), and at different times in our lives. What I mean with “if we’re lucky,” is that if we experience the same thing over and over with the same person(s), I think that is a choice we make… or just fucking bad luck.

lessons learned
One of my daily walks. I love this picture, I took it in the back street of the school on my way to look for something to eat.

In China, I do things I don’t normally do at home. I love long walks, taking a train or a bus to a different city and exploring that place. Granted, my country is a dot compared to the giant that is China, but I feel freer here. Maybe it’s because I’m here all alone, no one here knows me from way back when. So I feel freer to be myself. One of the places I really like is Tong’An. It’s not a “touristy place,” but the architecture is so different from where I live. In Jimei, the buildings are kind of old… I want to use the word ‘rundown’ for some because they look like they’ve seen better days. The Chinese government is constantly working to improve their country, so I am so glad that Jimei is now receiving a much-needed face-lift.

Lessons learned are two important words in my vocabulary. I believe in growth: if we’re not growing mentally and spiritually, life is at a standstill.

The moment life is at a standstill, that’s where the problems start. The time in China has done me well. I realize that it was vital for me to have some time to myself. Being alone with oneself and one’s thoughts can be scary. We all face our demons every day, but there comes a time when we have to stop running from them. Facing your fears doesn’t only mean conquering one’s fear of heights or what-have-you, but also confronting ourselves about certain aspects of our life. What most of us still don’t fully understand, is that we shape our life. We decide how we go through life. I think there are two choices when it comes to living life:

  1. passionate about the life we lead.
  2. wear a mask and pretend to be passionate about the life we lead.

These two little words, lessons learned, are an important part of my life. I know that will always be the case.

To wear a mask is exhausting. I know, because I wore one most of my life. My move to China was a great opportunity for me to really focus on these very important words: lessons learned. I learn every single day, but three of the most important life-altering experiences since my move to China are:

  1. space is needed.
  2. I am stronger than I give myself credit for.
  3. don’t sweat the small stuff, because it’s all small stuff.

I am thankful for being blessed to make one of my dreams come true.

Space really is needed. Sometimes it’s good to disconnect from familiar surroundings and familiar people. This allows us to reconnect with ourselves, to get to know who we are and what we want. A change in environment enabled me to get to know myself again. It is nice to do that without the opinions of others tainting my opinion of myself. Before I left, I was in such a bad place, both emotionally and mentally. Space really was necessary. If I hadn’t left, things might have turned out differently.

Overseas is where I learned to look at every single unpleasant thing that ever happened to me. When you’re all by yourself, you have a lot of time to be with your thoughts. If you’re not strong enough, they will consume you.

And guess what? I know that I am strong enough to handle anything life throws my way. Anything and everything.

In China is where I learned to look at myself objectively. I was so comfortable in the role of “victim,” that it never ever occurred to me think about things I might be doing wrong. Pointing the finger at someone was my daily exercise. In China, I love the anonymity. No one gives a crap about what you do, where you go, and with whom. You’re free to do whatever you want, as long as it’s not against the law. I really used to care what people thought about me, but upon further inspection, I’ve learned that people judge you based on how they think of themselves. This brings me to point number three, “don’t sweat the small stuff.” I only have on thing to say about this, so read carefully and don’t forget it:

“Life is too short to care about what people think. The most important thing is, what you think of yourself.”

Facing yourself, facing your demons and calling yourself out on your nonsense, really takes courage. I really am stronger than I gave myself credit for. Thank you for my strength, Grandma. I think lessons learned are two words we all can pay some more attention to in life.

Much LOVE to you all!


Tiara Ray

I am grateful & blessed to have the life I live. (Soon to be) Traditionally published & self-published author in her mid-thirties. I unsuccessfully tried changing this picture numerous times, so I just left it. I wish you lots of love & may you get what you need. <3