Digging a Hole to China

I made it to China, the other side of the hole, the other side of the world. Inside, 7-year-old me is jumping for joy at my accomplishment. Outside, 27-year-old me is crying into her take-away fried rice while lesson planning. The beginning of a journey is always exciting. The end of a journey is usually bittersweet. The middle of a journey is exhausting and draining.

Welcome to my middle.

It's January, so baby it's cold outside. Here in Zhangjiajie, the winter is wet and freezing with sleet falling every other day and no indoor heating to provide relief. All my classrooms are cold, so the students and I stay in our coats and gloves for the entire 100 minutes. You ever tried to write tongue twisters and idioms on a whiteboard with four layers and thick gloves on? Between the language gap and my winter handwriting it's a wonder my students are learning anything at all this month.

My bat-pajama-onesie descent into madness
I'm also thoroughly and constantly tired. Maybe it's the cold; maybe it's the fact that I skipped all my traditional holiday celebrations this year; maybe it's that I'm still not used to 24/7 Chinese food; maybe it's that my immune system is still punishing me for moving to the east; maybe it's a combination of all four, but regardless, I'm exhausted in ways that even deep sleep and Netflix can't fix.

I'm preparing to give final exams while also trying to give a meaningful and helpful ending to this term's content. I'm spending my Saturday's in my bat-pajama-onesie that I wore for Halloween that is now my primary source of warmth. I'm rolling into classes three minutes before they start and dancing around while cold-calling students like English pronunciation is my one and only true love in this life in a vain attempt to keep myself engaged.

It feels like I've got homeflu because being homesick just doesn't sound severe enough for how I feel.

Middles are hard. Winter is hard. Having both occur at the same time is just downright diabolical.

However, I know these bitter feelings will pass along with the dreary, bleak weather. Winter is here, House Stark. But spring will come, temperatures will rise, and I'll no longer be in this mid-academic year slump. I'll swing back up the bell curve and be missing my time here before I know it.

Besides, I still have my Spring Festival break to finish planning, a break that's taking its sweet, precious time in arriving. Beijing, Nepal, Thailand, and Cambodia - I'm ready to book it.

My anticipated travel bell curve adaptation