The time is suddenly here, and I am not even in Macao to write this post. Rather, I am sitting at Hong Kong Airport, waiting to board my plane back home.
I do not even know where to start trying to describe my stay at the university, the country, with the people there, or without everything I am so used to having around me.
Quite honestly, as I have written before, I am not the typical “let’s go to Asia and discover new places and travel after the semester is over and be one with the people”. In all honesty I almost envy those who are, because there is an adventure-side of it that appeals to me. But, as stated before, I love my home city, I love my life there, and the place I call home. And it has literally hurt my body to be away from it. However, it is always good to break free from what is comfortable and challenge one’s self too, which is ultimately why I decided to apply and go on exchange. I was terrified during the whole application period because I was not sure if I would have the braveness to actually go. But sometimes you just have to close your eyes and just do it.
Excuse my poor picture, but I seems to only have taken pictures like the shown above when it comes to representing the faculty I was part of. I loved being part of this faculty. Although I seemed to have set ideas of what to expect, they were of course shaken into what reality holds for you. No, what I really did appreciate was that I found all of my teachers so devoted, interested, and fun to listen to. All of them are radically different to one another, and I am happy for that, because I have literally seen five different ways of teaching a subject that I will soon be teaching myself.
Furthermore, being an exchange student in a new place is a scary and somewhat scary experience, because you feel like you did in 7th grade, the insecurity creeps up on you and you wonder how the hell you are supposed to just behave like you naturally do, without throwing too much in people’s faces. Happily, however, I had really supportive teachers who, despite my breaking down in front of them, stood by me and encouraged me through some difficult times. Being a teacher is of course not only about professionally teach a subject to a group of people in a way that would be interesting for them all to listen to and learn, but just as much a person-to-person relationship where you have to adapt your level, energy, content, and everything in-between that in order for your students to feel like they are being seen in a room full of people. Of course this applies the other way around just as much. A teacher is also human and needs to have a bad day without it destroying the lesson for others. Teachers are, to say the least, flexible people. Back to what I was saying before, I am so grateful for the times I was able to talk it out with them and keep my head up and continue even though it feels like my heart is breaking of homesickness.
Speaking of home, it was evident that I was nowhere near home, and it hit me that all the tall buildings, the neatly packed blocks and the massive amounts of people that live in this place was a bit too much for me to handle. I understand why the buildings are high, and it does have a visual effect just as much as a practical one. But you grow to enjoy your view at the end, anyway. I sort of appreciated the difference after my “neutralized” period actually kicked in.
Whenever I wanted more of that claustrophobic feeling, I could just take the ferry to Hong Kong and love the view. I LOVE HONG KONG. I should almost get a t-shirt with that printed on it. I adore Hong Kong. I cannot even explain why. I think it is the feeling of a big city although it is not that big in reality. And I love the mix of massive (MASSIVE) buildings with the picturesque cute bars and parks in the middle of it all. Not to forget the beautiful nature and culture that surrounds Hong Kong.
So, to say that my past five months have been full of new experiences, feelings, meetings with new people, food experiments and so much more, is an understatement.
But I am also exhausted. Exhausted in the way that it becomes too much and I need to rest my brain a bit, with what is familiar to me. What I know that I love, to know where the street leads to, what I can find in the supermarket, who to call when I feel like going out for a drink, to study together with other friends who are also becoming teachers and can nerd it down with me. I miss speaking the same language as the majority of the population. I miss my life, so it beyond wonderful to know that I will be home in about 13 hours from the time this post is being written. Yay for that!
I think in time, when I have landed back into my regular habits again, I will reminisce back to certain things that were important to me during my stay here. But for now, I think it is simply too soon to try to understand how this has affected me in the long run. All I can say now that is absolutely has been a life changing experience that I will never forget, for many reasons. They just need to grow on my first.
Lastly, as this experience is now officially over, I will go back to writing in Swedish and I will most likely have an English section for non-Swedish readers. I will also go back to focusing more on my studies and work regarding teaching. Also, I want to include more thoughts about research, articles, and news about my profession and work place (in general).
Sweden, here I come!