As I am drafting this post, it is March 31st, 2016 and I am currently on the Chinese Eastern Airlines Flight 582 to Pudong International Airport (PVG). (Flying solo I might add!) My expected return flight is July 12th, officially making this the longest period of time that I will be away from “home”. That’s right, Shanghai is calling and I am about to embark on the most challenging/exciting adventure of my life (thus far)!
So what brings me to Shanghai for 3.5 months? Well, this trip is two-fold. For one, I will be studying Mandarin at East Normal Chinese University (ECNU) part time. It wasn’t until I went to business school and took a few International Business courses when I realized how strong of an asset it would be to be fully bilingual and especially with Mandarin as my second language. This realization also came with a hit to my pride as yet again, my parents were right… You see, growing up as an adopted-Chinese-child in a Caucasian-Canadian-home, my parents thought it was extremely important for my younger sister (who is also adopted) and I to attend Chinese school. But I hated it. Every single second of it. Each Saturday morning was a battle that I reluctantly always lost. However, I did often end up with a coke-slurpee-bribe, so I suppose you could say I still came out a winner.
Now before you assume my parent’s are strict, heart-less individuals, please know that this is far from the truth. Rather, my parent’s forcefulness came from not only seeing the value of learning a second language, but also wanting Victoria and I to be exposed to our culture, as they were aware of their inability to provide this element at home for us. However, despite “showing up”, I did not pay attention as I would find other things to do to pass the time. Such activities included my regular school homework, endless games of S-O-S in our Chinese writing notebooks (the ones with those squares for you to practice writing out the strokes of each character a million times) and scheming of escape routes to surpass the supervision in the hallways and end up at the golden arches next door.
So here I am, almost six years later from when I finally convinced my parents to stop sending me to Chinese School, and I am voluntarily going to study and this time in China! Oh the irony… Oh maturity…
My classes are three hours long each morning, Monday to Friday, so this leaves me with free-time in the afternoon, evenings and weekends. And what for you may ask? Well, I am happy to finally tell you that when I announced back in my first post of 2016 that I have made the decision to get over my fears and chase my dream (that being ethreeone.), I was talking about this trip.
During these 3.5 months, I will be spending my free time creating samples with a few different suppliers for ethreeone.’s very own line of female professional clothing. There are more details that I wish I could share, but I promise that I will when the timing is just right. You should know by now that I never leave you hanging, so sit tight! (:
I’ve been fortunate to have gone on a few global adventures in my 22 years. Some major highlights include a missions trip to Guatemala in grade 11, moving to Victoria to attend the Peter B. Gustavson School of Business, my elective course IB 418: “Doing Business in China” – in which we visited several local SME’s and MNCs in Shanghai and Guangzhou, and most recently of course, my two months volunteering in Uganda with Living Hope. I believe that the accumulation of these exciting/personally-stretching adventures – aggregated with even the smalls ones – have prepared me for as such as time as this.
Am I still a bit nervous?… HECK YEAH! In fact, one of the questions that I kept on getting asked before I left was, “Are you ready?” I’ve come to realize that this question in particular is quite loaded. My response was always the same and always honest in that I would reply, “Logistically I am, but I don’t think I’ll ever fully feel “ready”.” The past few years have taught me that this feeling of “un-readiness” is actually perfectly normal. Despite all the research and inquiring with suppliers in advance that I did and could do, the reality is, I won’t know what will actually happen until I am on the ground.
One of the quotes that I continually keep in mind and that helped out significantly with the launch of this blog almost two years ago, is:
Despite this blog not being perfect and wanting to knit pick for days on choosing the right plugins, widgets, layout, etc. I knew I just had to hit the “launch” button or else ethreeone. would never get going.
So as I left off with my post back in the beginning of this year, what is that dream that has been itching away at you? The one that you have been obsessively thinking about, where you can spend hours and hours daydreaming about and smiling like a fool without realizing it?
Are you pursuing it or are you allowing fear to steal your dream?.. I’m chasing my dream, I hope you are too!
Until next time, work hard and be nice to people!