Stress Wellington 

Wow, a lot happened in 3 months.

As hoped, I’ve changed a lot since May. For the most part, I’m healthier, happier, and I have a much more positive attitude about my life. That by itself is a success. But, I’ve also managed to meet some of my other goals. I worked 3 jobs this summer, and managed to at least offset some travel costs (if nothing else, I got paid to be busy). I was able to train Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Karate this summer, so my conditioning has greatly improved. I’m mentally more prepared for conflict now than ever before. I’ve also managed the transition out of vegetarianism fairly smoothly. Overall, I feel fairly prepared for the semester in Nanjing.

Where I haven’t progressed as much as I would have liked has been in my Chinese. 3 jobs and martial arts became overwhelming at times, so I didn’t study as much as I wanted. I also haven’t focused as much on simplified characters as I would have liked, and I haven’t been using as much audio material as initially planned. I have been using the “DianHua” app on the iPod, and the study function has proven incredibly useful. However, this hasn’t been a replacement for time lost.

I’m now just a few days out from my departure on the 24th, and oddly, I’m rather calm (minus perhaps the series of muscle tension injuries I’ve been keeping at bay with self-administered acupressure massage and Qi Gong this last week). However, just a few days ago I was extremely worried about the trip. A few people tried to help by telling me study abroad would be “great” and so on, but that didn’t do much. It wasn’t until I thought back to the past two years of school that I became calm. I made a list in my head of all the things I am not currently doing as I go to China that I have done in the past two years. It goes something like this:

I am not going through personal trauma.
I am not helping someone else out of their personal trauma.
I don’t believe I am at a great risk of losing my own life.
I have little reason to believe someone close to me is at risk of losing theirs’.
I am not responsible for someone else’s survival or personal safety.
I am not breaking someone’s heart.

I’m just going to China.

This will probably be far from the hardest thing I’ve done, although there will definitely be struggles. Who knows what will happen once I get there.

I don’t really know how to end this post, so I’ll leave the readers with a quote. I learned this from the Venerable Tenzin Yignyen during my Tibetan Mandala course. I meditate on it when the world starts getting to me.

“I learn more tolerance from my enemies than I do from my friends”

Best of luck to my fellow Asiapod bloggers and everybody returning to school.