“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”

This post represents the first step in my thousand mile journey to learn Chinese, grow up, conquer my personal demons, and one day reach that elusive paradise known as a well paying job. All documented in this here blog!

Future posts will catalogue many aspects of my life, and musings on whatever issues happen to be troubling me at the present time. Hopefully it will act as a cheap therapy/venting session for me, as well as an interesting pass-time for readers.

One of my first confessions, is that I never finish anything I haven’t paid an egregious amount of money for. As such this blog, for which I have paid precisely zero pounds sterling, is already in jeopardy. My secret hope is that, should I manage to persevere for long enough, I will accrue a small community of readers who will force me to keep typing. My life is at a turning point, I hope the proceeding years will give me enough intellectual and spiritual stimulation to continue writing without internet groupies dogging my heels, but whatever works works!

For those of you terrified of the foreign and strange, it’s worth noting that I’m currently studying Chinese (as mentioned in the opening, dopey), so posts like the following may be frequent:

刚才起床了,看见迈克尔杰克逊吻着一个牛,后来觉得我疯了,所以去参加他们的性感活动!

I’m joking, it was a goat!

OK, crass digressions aside. To give you a more in depth introduction to who I am and where I’m coming from, I’ll explain a little below.

I’m about to graduate from university in the UK. I studied biology for three years, and even managed to get myself an internship at the Natural History Museum London. Needless to say this was something of a dream come true. I regret not taking more pictures and sneaking after people to enter restricted areas just for the thrill. Unfortunately a mixture of anxiety and depression brought that little dream to a premature end. Right now, I’m preparing to start a masters in Chinese studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies. Biology to Chinese. Natural science to humanities. Yes, it’s quite a jump and I’m scared witless (but not all the time, thankfully). I got the bug a while back and haven’t been able to shake it. I’ll tell the story of my journey to Chinese in a later post. For now all I can say is that it’s my greatest passion and my deepest pain. As a young buck whose experiences are limited, I can only assume this is something like love. Drawing on my extensive study of romcoms, I determined to pursue this passion despite the set backs, mood swings and dramatic breakups. In perhaps 2 years, I managed to bungle my way to language proficiency that’s good enough to scrape through the requirements for a masters course. In this time I learned that Chinese is considered one of the hardest languages in the world and that many people, both in China and abroad, will consider me some sort of prodigy. At the same time I discovered that there are thousands of non-natives whose Chinese is light years ahead of mine. As a bit of a pessimist and low-self-esteemer I can say that I love bumping into the former, but as a perfectionist I know that the latter group is the only one that will help me improve.

Right now I’m in limbo, the masters course starts in two weeks and most of my other friends are busy with work or their theses. I’m really excited about starting the next stage in my life, and I plan to make the most of every penny I’ve spent to make contacts and learn as much as I can (All right, my parents are paying but I’ll pay them back, promise). In the mean time, I’m attempting to claw my way back into the habit of waking before noon. I’ve seen mixed results so far…

(Hopefully I’ll keep the clichéd Chinese idioms to a minimum, but there’s a reason Chinese textbooks always start with the title of this post!)

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