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International Exchange

You Should Have Never Let Me Write

2 November 2017

Two months after being kicked out of sixth form at my secondary school, I was accepted into a college where I would go on to achieve three A Levels.
Two months after the Brexit referendum of 2016, the value of the British pound dropped to the lowest level it had been at in over 10 years.
Two months after moving to Hong Kong, I seem to have given up entirely on the plans that I once made for post-graduation and have decided to take a completely different route in life.

Given that you have the capability to read this post, I can assume that you must have experienced at least one period of two months in your lifetime. What I have been trying to discern recently is just exactly what this measurement feels like to me. I know that two months is an amount of time; the subjective description of “long” or “short”, however, depends entirely on the context of the situation. In terms of living in a new house, it can seem rather short. In terms of going on a new diet, it can seem rather long. In terms of moving halfway across the world to a country which speaks another language, eats an unfamiliar cuisine, and has an incredibly rich and diverse history (one which provides a plethora of cultural differences – some strangely subtle and some inexplicably extravagant), whilst you are also having to study at a university which has an entirely different system of teaching, learning, and grading to that of what you are used to… Well, my results so far seem to be inconclusive.

Whilst being swept up in the phantasmagoria of living out an experience which is quite possibly the veritable holy grail of all 20-something-year-olds’ pipe dreams, I have readily forgotten about the majority of perils of my former existence and have subsequently given in to a new way of life here in China. The way I dress, the things I eat, the friends I communicate with on a daily basis and even the way I perceive the world have all changed dramatically in two months, and that makes it seem as though it has been a very long time indeed.

I do however have to think about the things I have achieved since I first departed the UK all this time ago. Embarrassingly enough, I have somehow managed to binge watch a rather surprising amount of television, including but not limited to: seasons 2 and 3 of Torchwood, season 2 of Stranger Things, all 4 seasons of Skam and all 4 seasons of Please Like Me, with a few nostalgia trips down the surprisingly long road of my own home movies thrown in for good measure. You may think that this adds to the argument that two months is a long amount of time, but in reality this negligence of my situation has made the entire experience feel a whole lot shorter. To think that I am already a sizeable portion of the way into my time abroad but that I have actually achieved very little gives me a painful sense of gate-closing panic, one which makes me feel as though I am already on a plane back to England and regretting all of the things that I didn’t have time to do in Hong Kong (whilst also crying into the smelly pillow on the back of the chair because I find sleeping on planes to be an impossible task).

I know I really should be telling you all about what an amazing time I am having here in this overpopulated archipelago of jungles floating in the South China Sea, but recently I have been pondering more philosophical concepts, including the very idea of time itself. Now that my home in the UK has drifted yet another hour into the past I can’t help but wonder what basis time keeping even has in this world, let alone what it means to me and how it is affecting my current experience. Alas, I shall power on through the obscurity of abstract ideologies and perhaps, if I can manage to surmount the difficulties posed by educational and financial worries, I will hopefully be able to deliver to you the content that you so desire… Although you may have to wait a little while before that happens – I say give it two months.