Six Month Check- In: China Travel Bucketlist

I can’t believe it’s been six months since I moved to Kunshan. The time has really flown by, soon it will be the end of the school year. I have had some really fun and exciting times as well as some lonely and difficult times. I have not had a meltdown yet and have not had a bad case of homesickness yet. (Let’s see how long that lasts.) All in all, this has been a really smooth transition for moving across the globe. It has been 11 years since my first trip out of the U.S. and I don’t plan on stopping anytime soon.

Here are three things I want to note in this check-in:

1. I CAN SPEAK CHINESE!

Ok…. I can kinda speak Chinese. Enough to eat and shop. What has been really exciting lately is, when I go out, I can read signs and posters. It has been super motivating for me. My favorite Chinese learning app is HelloChinese. I practice all the time (sometimes for hours at night). I am so happy I make myself put away the translator app when I first got here. It really made me struggle for a while. I also watch lots of Chinese tv shows on Netflix to practice my listening and fluency. I will have a blog post about my favorite shows soon.

I have always loved languages and Mandarin has proven easier than I thought because I am so immersed in it. The best feeling in the world is when someone says something to you and they don’t expect you to be able to respond and their face lights up when you do! My goal is to pass HSK 3 in a year.

2. It is difficult to keep in contact with people

Unless it’s my immediate family or close friends, the messages and calls have started to die down. Most of the time, with the business of school and the time difference it’s ok for a while. But, sometimes I can go a couple weeks with only talking to the same 4 people from home. That gets lonely really quickly especially for someone who is used to speaking to everyone all the time. Sure there is Facebook and Instagram but likes on social media do not count and are not the same as communicating. They can never replace actual conversation.

The worst is coming home from work to an empty apartment and eating dinner alone. It’s just nice to call or video chat someone, even if it is silent on both ends because you are both doing things. This is something my friends and I have really been working on doing better about. My parents and I are pros at it.

3. Chinese phone technology is the best!

I will have an entirely separate blog post on this soon. Let me just say, Chinese apps have made me lazier in so many ways and make it way too easy to spend money. I am currently in Taobao recovery.

Over the past few months, I have spent a lot of time thinking about all the places I want to see while living in China. (Another reason I want to be fluent in Chinese.) I have finally come up with a comprehensive list of all I want to do. I included somethings I have already crossed off just so other people can use this list for inspiration too!

Bri’s Travel China Bucketlist

  1. Shanghai Bund
  2. Leshan Buddha
  3. Shanghai Disney
  4. Zhangjiajie
  5. Zhouzhuang Watertown boat ride
  6. Great Wall of China
  7. Terracotta soldiers
  8. Stay in a Hutong
  9. Learn to make dumplings
  10. Rice fields
  11. Work at the Panda Research Base
  12. Forbidden City
  13. Shengsi Island
  14. Harbin Ice Festival
  15. Rainbow Mountains
  16. Red Beach
  17. Heaven’s Gate
  18. Run the Great Wall of China Marathon
  19. Ghobi Desert
  20. Li River
  21. Bamboo Forest
  22. Pick tea in the tea fields
  23. Kashgar Grand Bazaar

That’s it for now! I have a year and a half left to do it!

What is on your China bucket list? Am I missing anything important?

Published by brianalennet

Visual anthropologist and digital storyteller

2 thoughts on “Six Month Check- In: China Travel Bucketlist

  1. Bri, I’m still in awe of your adventures. I wish I was brave enough to venture out of my comfort zone! I love that you’re experiencing “learning “ to read Chinese and newly understand the process your students are going through. Your students are so lucky to have you. I want you to make dumplings and hot pot for me when you get home!

    1. Oh! I have really begun to appreciate my English language learners. It has really helped me in correcting their pronunciation and teaching difficult sounds because now I understand how Chinese sounds work. I will NEVER say no to hot pot! It is my favorite! It helps me learn how to say the food I like and dislike in Chinese too.

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