I would say it’s hard to believe that I’ve been living back in the UK for almost 4 months now, but the truth is it feels a lot more like I never really left! Looking back on China it very much feels like we were there for nothing more than a short holiday. I guess that this is largely to do with the fact that 18 months really isn’t a terribly long time and that, duration aside, now I am back in the motherland I can see that Chengdu never felt like a proper home. By which I mean that as wonderful and as great as our time there was, we always knew it was an interlude to real life – that we would be leaving relatively shortly so no point in really bedding in and putting our roots down.
I’ve also been surprised with how little I’ve actually missed it. Of course, I miss the people a lot and I miss the food…although not nearly as much as I thought I would now that I am firmly back in bread, cheese and chocolate heaven, but I don’t miss my ‘China life’. The one with lots of free time, a super easy job and not really anything to stress about. Admittedly, had my return to the UK brought with it a proper adult 9-5 I daresay I would be feeling differently but as it turns out, I’ve delayed ‘real life’ for yet another year by embarking on a Masters degree and only working a couple of days a week.
Rather ironically, given how much I moaned about teaching in China, said part-time job is…..teaching! Having sworn I would never teach another English class, after a couple of weeks of fruitlessly searching for some part-time admin work I admitted defeat, whacked an advert on Gumtree and was absolutely shocked at how big a response an ad for a TEFL teacher in Glasgow got…with only a few weirdos sending inappropriate messages. After a bit of a settling in phase which saw me once again fall foul to my inability to say no to people or negotiate pay like an actual adult, I am now really enjoying teaching a lovely Spanish lady for several hours a week. Whilst she may have much higher expectations (quite rightly) than the impressionable Chinese teenagers I was used to, she is a lot more fun to teach given that we spend large chunks of our lessons chatting over cups of tea rather than me frantically scrabbling for any kind of conversation with painfully shy students.
When not teaching or watching the Bake Off (RIP) I am now usually found at university. Although, as indicated by me writing this, my procrastination levels remain high, thankfully my motivation to actually go to university and do my assignments well ahead of schedule is much better than it was when I was an undergraduate! Having not really used my brain substantially since somewhere around the middle of 2008, it has been a bit of a shock to the system to be faced with studying for a degree in something that I have absolutely no previous knowledge of – Medical Visualisation for anyone who is interested (yep, I can’t really explain what it is either). Thankfully, despite looming deadline fear I am massively enjoying it and Joe provides much needed positive reinforcement whenever computer-related rage gets too much, usually on a Tuesday afternoon!
Squashed in between landing back in the UK and starting university there has also been a relocation to Glasgow into a lovely wee flat, family holidays to the Isle of Skye, babysitting nephews like a boss, several trips to London, driving an ancient Nissan Micra far too great a distance across the country, weddings, 30th birthdays, an engagement and a whole lot of subsequent wedding planning! So it’s safe to say it’s been a whirlwind few months.
Now, if only I could write a literature review about 3D modelling congenital heart defects as quickly as I wrote this….