As part of our requirements for our supervising teacher, we have to complete six journal entries on assigned topics. The first one is sort of just an overview of our feelings pre-departure. I did a similar one on my own for my Japan trip blog so I thought I may as well post this too.
I’m leaving for Hong Kong in 3 days. Although I am pretty prepared, I don’t really feel that way. Any new situation creates a certain amount of anxiety, and lucky me, I tend to feel it more than the average person. Of course, I am excited, but it’s tempered with equal parts of the anxiety. Not for any one thing in particular, but just the whole situation. There is so much that can’t be known ahead of time. Will the children and teachers like me? Will I plan suitable activities? Will I enjoy where I am staying? Will I like the food? What if I get sick? Will I be more homesick than I anticipate? What if it is so hot that it’s all I can think about? All these things jumble together in my brain and create a ball of nerves that sits in my centre.
I realize this makes me sound like a total neurotic mess. I’m not really. I am looking forward to many things as well. The adorable-ness of the kids is at the top of my list. I think that is a given. I already get along with the people I’ve met that are going to be sharing the space with me. I think that will be fun. And I’ve wanted to go to China for years. It’s getting to live out another one of my dreams. I feel lucky in that sense. Many people can’t say the same. I’m really looking forward to the sight-seeing ~ namely street markets and temples. There is nothing in particular I need to see. Whatever arises is fine with me. Although it seems like a waste to be going all the way there and NOT being able to visit the Great Wall… I guess that can’t really be helped if there is a health advisory in effect. I’m still holding out hope that we can make it work.
We have been given lists of things to do in preparation for leaving and most of those things I have crossed off already. My paperwork is all in order, gifts for the children I will be working with have been purchased, and I did a vast amount of clothes shopping. I am required to wear business appropriate attire that is both modest and weather suitable. I owned next to nothing of that nature. Now I have enough to last me the entire month without having to wear the same thing every day (which is also a relief to my nerves). I have all the other things purchased that I may need (all the toiletries that I am accustomed to and may not be able to find in the scents/brands I prefer and a little medicine kit – essentially a small pharmacy). I also exchanged the equivalent of about $50 CAD to HKD just to cover me for the first night.
One thing I still need to do is to buy gifts for the teachers I will be working with. Usually when visiting from a foreign country, you bring something small – souvenir trinket-y type things, indicative of your home country – to give to those who put up with you when you’re there. I looked. Found nothing I felt was appropriate. I was hoping to get something at a particular gift store in the mall I frequent most often but it had closed down. So, in a true procrastinator’s fashion, I am relegated to the airport gift shops. I’m not thrilled about that, but seeing as there is nothing close-by and I don’t drive… not much choice.
Other than having everything I need to take with me in order, there isn’t a lot I feel that I can do to prepare myself. I kind of wish I could pre-plan all my activities but I don’t think that’s possible. Although, that would relieve a ton of stress. Hmmm….
I already have weird sleeping habits that are completely backwards in my time zone, so I won’t have to deal with jet lag. I’ve talked to quite a few people about my feelings, so that helps to calm me down a bit. And everyone is fairly liberal with advice, of course. The funniest was “don’t kiss any Chinese men and don’t eat pork, so you don’t catch that flu” which somehow later evolved to the reminder of not kissing any pigs. Noted. Thank you.
(originally posted to ngohheuiheunggong)