June last year, I went on a solo trip to China in search of an adventure. It was my first trip abroad alone and though I did not know exactly what waited for me when I reach my destination, I went ahead anyway. I’ve always believed that it’s only when you take risks that you are able to make a difference that actually counts. And what a difference this trip has made!
Life here hasn’t been always easy. Aside from the language barrier, life away from the familiar comforts of home, away from family and friends, can get A LOT lonely. Many times, I have questioned my decision to move here. Many times, I’ve cried because I missed home. Unlike when we were young kids, it’s not so easy making lasting friendships as adults. Often, we encounter people who already have their own sets of friends. Here, the people I often meet, fellow expats, are usually also just passing by – here one year, gone the next. This is not to say that I have not found any good friends. In fact, I have made quite a few that in spite of the short time we’ve spent together, are now deeply rooted in my heart.
Everyday since I first arrived in Guangzhou, I’ve fallen in love with the city one day at a time. I love how it makes me feel safe, even while I’m walking alone at night. I love how honest people here are. I’ve lost my phone, wallet, and even my bag, but I’ve always managed to get them back. I love how people are so friendly even though they don’t understand me: The guards at my apartment building who always smile when I pass by. The shopkeeper at my favorite fruit shop who gave me extra portions that are way beyond what I paid for.
More than these, I love how China has taught me so many things about myself that I would never have learned had I not ventured out of my comfort zone. For example, I discovered the joys of walking. I who used to take a cab to get from SM Mega Mall to Podium! I also learned that I enjoy cooking and cleaning – chores that I was too lazy to do back home because someone was always there to do these things for me.
Coming here has been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made in my life. The journey doesn’t end here though. I plan to spend more years in China and perhaps continue my journey in another country, to learn and discover more.