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秋春粉墨

若兰的上海生活

 
 
 

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Happy Birthday  

2012-02-21 01:20:50|  分类: 默认分类 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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I guess this one will be a bit of a personal entry.  I promised myself I would try to write more directed toward a general public, but I think because of this I don't write, which is causing a huge backup of emotion in this crazy mind of mine.  I need some sort of outlet, especially as I brave Shanghai by myself, and I think this will have to serve as it.

This month has been crazy.  After drinking duty free wine accompanied by a french meal of cow tongue, stew, and some heated sangria wine, I came home a bit woozy and tried to type a diary entry in my intoxicated state.  It didn't quite work.

To sum up the deleted entry, Valentines Day in Shanghai was worse than I imagined it to be, but unlike many people in the city I had a boyfriend that sent me a lovely present.  While things did not go according to plan, at this moment I am grateful for the gift and the effort he put into his meticulous plan for my happiness.

Today I turn 26.  Like on new years, I think about just what the hell I'm doing.  Another year has passed and what have I accomplished, basically?  Do I like myself?  Am I happy where I am?  Is there anything I can change about myself?

Let's start with my childhood.  I never much liked my birthday, even when I was young and was supposed to enjoy it.  I always wished it just passed away or it didn't exist somehow.  Back then, I always lived in some fantasy world.  I played video games and watched anime, and thanks to those two main factors of my childhood I invested six lovely years into the study of Japanese.  Not only did it lead me to Japanese study, but it gave me such an adventurous state of mind.

I want to see the world.  I want to be like these heroes in the video games and do something different, something worthwhile.  I want to see what I can make with these two hands.  I always thought these things when I was small.

My parents never pushed me, nor did my friends, but I pushed myself.  I pushed so hard sometimes to achieve whatever lofty goal I had at the time.  I want to become a world traveling journalist.  I want to study abroad in Japan.  I want to get two bachelor degrees instead of one.  I pushed and pushed and pushed myself all the way to Japan.  I never had money, neither did my family, but I somehow achieved all the things listed above through hard work and determination.

Arriving in Japan through the JET programme made me feel really good about myself.  I knew I was the only one from my University that actually passed the interview and made it onto Japanese soil.  More than that, coming to that small island was my ultimate dream.  Living there was some sort of legend that I thought I could never attain, and I'll never forget the feeling I held after walking past the rows or rice paddies to get to my house.  I threw my suitcase on the floor, dropped to my knees and cried.  I wasn't crying because I was unhappy or lonely, but it was an overwhelming feeling.  I'm all alone in this foreign country, yet this is where I want to be, and everything about Japan seems to be just the way I imagined it.

Toward the end of my contract in Japan (which I could have extended but refused), I started to grow a black hole inside of myself.  I realized Japan wasn't the place I wanted to settle down, nor was it a place I wanted to start a career.  Although I could speak and read fluent Japanese, I still couldn't find a job and found myself basically an undesirable English teacher.  It was then and there I realized my two years in Japan, besides the language acquisition, was practically a waste of my time.  No one gave a crap I was an English teacher and I felt myself confused and scared.  What can I do with my life?

China gave me the hope I was looking for.  Of course, China wasn't a place I was running away to, it was a huge continent to the east that drew me in with its glowing appeal of culture, language, and economic boom. 

After a slew of awful events (losing a scholarship and being unemployed in America for months to name a few), I took a one way ticket to Shanghai, China to do something with my life.  I wanted to find out what kind of job would make me happy, and more than that, I wanted dig deeper into the country called China that I only scratched the surface of with my short study abroad term in Beijing.

Here I am.  I'm in Shanghai, working at a company I don't much like and doing a job that I don't much care for either.  While the job may suck, the lifestyle here is really refreshing.  I couldn't love my old "lao shanghai" apartment or the European infused Chinese neighborhood I dwell in anymore than I possibly do now: I absolutely adore it.  Yesterday I stood at my balcony and looked to the forest of skyscrapers on the horizon, the sun painting them a honeyed glow as the day came to a close.  My laundry was hanging up to dry above me, and I could hear the pitter patter of people below riding bikes to the vegetable market or shuffling to visit nearby relatives or friends.  I never imagined I'd be living in the heart of one of the world's most major cities looking at the world literally growing at my footsteps, but I'm here.

Yet I'm still disappointed in myself.  I'm 26 and feel so unaccomplished, so unsuccessful and so disappointed in myself.  I feel that I'm growing stupider, my mind is becoming dull, and the more I work the more I tend to procrastinate and let bad situations drag on instead of solve them immediately.

This year I discovered my dream of wanting to become a professional translator, but to do that I need to go to university--and to do that I need money, which means I need to apply for a scholarship.  But I haven't yet.  I still have so much to prepare but I'm not doing it.  Why?  Why do I keep putting it off?  Why don't I just write up the damn thing?  Why do I give myself excuses such as "I'm tired, I'll do it tomorrow, I can't concentrate now." 

I'm taking HSK next month and I seem to continually put that off as well.  I think I let my pride get the best of me and I tell myself: "Mary, you don't need to study Chinese, you can already get by in China and say what you want to say; everyone praises your Chinese and that's good enough, isn't it?"

No, it's not.

What's wrong with me?  When did I become so lazy, so lack-luster, so arrogant?  

I don't want to be this way anymore.  As I told myself "I'm tired," and prepared to go to sleep, I slapped myself and, instead, hopped out of bed and brewed a pot of coffee.  I opened my HSK book and finished all the reading problems.  I did terribly.  I sighed and drank another cup of coffee and listened to old video game music from my childhood.

What can I do?

Tonight I bought a cake for myself.  It was the first time I've ever bought a birthday cake for myself.  I carried it home, and on the way home I cried.  It was dark, so no one could see my tears.  I cried quietly.  I missed all my friends in America.  I missed my students in Japan hugging me.  I missed my friends in the Japanese countryside wishing me happy birthday at their homes or an izakaya.  I missed having my best friend to greet me when I come home.  I missed eating her home baked cake every year on my birthday.  I miss my boyfriend.

I put the cake in the fridge and after talking to my boyfriend I calmed down. 

I want to become a better person.  I always say I will, I always say I'll do more things and push myself harder, but I don't.  This time, I'm really going to achieve all those things I have on my list.  When I turn 30 I want to be proud of myself.  I don't want to be look in the mirror and feel so disgusted with myself.  I don't want to feel so lazy or unmotivated anymore. 

I want to make everyone I know around me proud.  I want to make my family and boyfriend proud.  My friends.

But most of all I want to look at myself and say that I'm proud of the woman I've become.
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