再见, 你好 / Goodbye and hello…

Tonight I fly out of my beautiful hometown of Auckland to the humming metropolis of Shanghai.

I go from this:

And this…

To this…

I’m hugely excited. Nervous? A little.

There is a strange feeling of returning “home” though. It’s like returning to the mother planet after being born and hatched on a different planet. When you look Chinese, no matter how strongly you identify with your Western upbringing and culture, you have a part of you that knows that a core part of you is derived from elsewhere.

Let’s ask the magic 8 ball a few questions….

Will the local Chinese be frustrated when they speak to me in Chinese and I look blankly and dumbly at them? It is certain.

Will I get frustrated I can’t speak the local language and feel completely lost? You may rely on it.

Am I excited about the prospect of immersing myself on a foreign “planet” while looking like a local, and seeing what crazy situations come at me? Without a doubt.

I will be living with a local Shanghai host family and be “big sister” to their 10 year old daughter, helping her with English while I soak up as much Mandarin as humanly possible, each day.

Stay tuned! ✌️