The extraordinary fact that I will be in China one month from tomorrow, travelling alone and meeting a huge number of new people, navigating new cities and a new culture, is just beginning to seem real. Up until now it has almost seemed like a fiction, or perhaps an episode from someone else's life.
I continue to struggle with spoken Chinese - by the time I translate in my head and manage to form a sentence that comes out of my mouth in a halting fashion, so much time has elapsed that whatever I am attempting to say is of purely historical interest. It is weird to feel 'silenced' in this way - talking has always been my default position. So much so that I am quite sure that many people wish I would just shut up much of the time!
I find myself worrying enormously about little details of my preparation, like my ability to use the video function on my new digital camera, or whether I have bought the right electrical socket converters, or how much of which currencies to purchase, or how I am going to find enough English reading matter to keep me going for 5 weeks - should I buy a Kindle?
I am now reading a book by a New Zealand woman who went to teach English in a large high school in ChongQing - she came home and joined the Benedictines! That seems a rather extreme response.......