What’s Keeping Me Sane This Week

We’ve turned our lives upside down, there is no doubt about that! While I’m having a great time so far, my cheery exterior can be a cover story for moments of doubt, anxiety and the odd pang of homesickness.

china hat street
Buying a new beanie at the hat & scarf market.

There is some serious fun to be had here and my husband has started calling me Dora The Explorer because whenever there is a spare few hours I’ll strap on my back pack and walk somewhere – anywhere – just to see what’s around the corner.

I also do that because the apartment is so empty. I’ve spent the last 7 years with children at home or I’ve been at work. When home alone (so rare!) I always had the company of the dog. Now, I’m completely alone. Every day. The quiet can be oppressive and I’d rather be out amongst the chaos and traffic.

china street food steamed buns
 Mini steamed pork buns from a street vendor for lunch. Cost $1!

A few things that are keeping me from going crazy are:

  • Working out. I’ve never been a gym junkie and I never will be, but my sister and I do a particular routine three days a week. On Monday, Wednesday and Fridays I drop the kids at their school bus and go to the gym. It has helped me find a basic structure to my week.
  • Snickers bars. They sell half size ones here. Nice little pick me up.
  • Streaming ABC radio. So many apps and websites don’t work here, but good old ABC radio does and in the mornings I’ll tune into Melbourne 774 and get a little dose of home. We also listen to the Hamish & Andy podcast.
  • Reading. I’ve joined a book club here, I’m reading along with my book club at home and have recently bought a few books that have been on my list for ages. I’ve just finished The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce. Not a title I would normally choose but it was for book club. Loved it and read most of it in one evening. Now I’ve started The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith (aka JK Rowling). It’s great so far – the first in her murder mystery series featuring Private Investigator Cormoran Strike.
  • Say Yes To The Dress – I’ve never had Foxtel (cable TV) at home and thanks to Netflix blocking access to anyone using a VPN I can’t watch that here. (Was fine for the first 2 weeks.) I’ve been watching lots of rubbish TV especially on the channel TLC. Say Yes To The Dress and Love Lust or Run are my faves!
china fish in supermarket
 The fish section at the supermarket. Can’t argue about the freshness!

Two more days and the girls are on school holidays for Chinese New Year, and hopefully sometime in the next week we’ll be moving into our permanent place. That will give me a new neighbourhood to explore and I’ll feel a little more settled.

What’s keeping you sane this week?

21 thoughts on “What’s Keeping Me Sane This Week

  1. Sounds Fantastic ros!! A newly emptied-of-children house is always a bit unsettling initially but I can’t imagine how exciting/daunting it must be to combine that with China. My favorite place to explore in Asia is always the supermarkets and fresh food markets. The new and weird things are always Mind blowing. Thinking of you guys xx

    1. I totally agree – I’ve been enjoying my shopping trips. My favourite so far is the hand made noodle man at my local wet market. The prices are insanely cheap!! Noodles for dinner every night! 🙂 Hope you guys are well xx

  2. It’s an exciting time for you and your family, it always takes a while to settle in to a new place. The supermarkets are so much fun, interesting etc I love checking out supermarkets when I travel
    Enjoy settling into your new place

    1. Yep I love the supermarkets too – there are some really weird and wonderful products and food here!

  3. I felt quite strange and unsettled when all my kids started at school – for about the first term, then I settled in, although there is still a strangeness after the summer holidays when they start back. I can’t imagine changing countries on top of that!!!!! I hope you get into your more permanent house soon, and that and having your sewing machine helps you feel more settled. Enjoy the exploring – it sounds fascinating. 🙂

    1. Thanks Jenny! Luckily we just found out that we are moving to our permanent place tomorrow – hooray!!

  4. HUGS! I can’t imagine what it would’ve been like if my kids had both started school our first year here… As hard as it was for me to go from lots of family support to none was hard enough, but if I hadn’t had their company/them as an excuse to get out and meet other parents and people?! Either way, sewing became my main choice of sanity. So I’m glad you’ve found some ways to cope too!

    1. Luckily there have been some great people through work who have helped me out a lot and the school has been a good way to meet people. It’s definitely strange having them both at school though! Hope you guys are doing well at the other end of your time overseas. xx

  5. Hi from Perth WA. Just want to say that I’m really enjoying reading about your adventure in China. I’ve had 3 trips to China booked in the last few years and had to cancel each one due to issues that cropped up. Sad to say I’ve still never been further than a day trip to Shenzhen from Hong Kong so, while I’m sure there are certain negatives, I’m a little green with envy. Jan P

    1. Hi Jan! Hopefully you will make it over here soon. If you come to Guangzhou, let me know and I’ll be your tour guide! Coming from Perth it will be a nice quick flight. xx

  6. What fun you are having. Thank you for posting updates! We want to hear all about your every day life – it’s not every day = boring same old same old. For you it’s exciting and new! When you are out and about you are finding things to share with the kiddos when they are off from school.

    The first time he came with us, our son did not know any Chinese. One day he decided it was too hot so he just stayed in the room – and discovered the most wonderful Chinese TV shows. They must be like soap operas, but who knows? One minute it was contemporary people talking, then a wizard would appear and things would move about and then people where dressed as communist soldiers – but they were talking and kissing – it was soap opera behavior. Since we didn’t know any of the language it was just amazing fun to see! So maybe you can find that on the TV this week! The last time we were there he had a dictionary and was translating things for us! : )

    I had a pretty nice day here in San Diego – walking around a local lake this morning seeing all sorts of wild life landing in the water making designs as they entered and exiting…

    : )

  7. Wow what a huge change! Not only did you move to another country but both children are at school. I think it will be better when you have your own place and have your crafting rhythm back. It’s an exciting new adventure but it’s still hard though. Yum, you are in dumpling heaven! I would really love to see more photos of places, people and food there and your new place!

    1. I will definitely post more about life here! Very quiet this week though – everyone is on holiday for Chinese New Year.

  8. This post took me right back to when I first came to Bendigo. I was so excited and couldn’t wait to get here. I was also very anxious at the same time. The quietness of a little flat where I lived when I first arrived was nearly deafening. Getting a budgie helped. Up until then I never thought of birds as good companions. I had a huge box of photos that I brought with me and I looked through them very often. Playing music that reminded me of good times with family and friends helped also. Getting out and about and getting to know people was great! Settling in took a little while and after three weeks I remember crying my eyes out thinking I have made a mistake. Perhaps getting lost on the way home from work and driving around for over an hour trying to find a somewhat familiar landmark had something to do with it too 🙂 That was almost 13 years ago! I hope you will feel more settled once you move into a more permanent place. How are the girls going at school? I do know how to say goodbye in Chineese, but I can’t remember how to write it 🙂 All the best Ros!

    1. I play music a lot, you are right it does help! This week has been busy with the girls on school holidays for Chinese New Year. I am gradually meeting more people and making some friends. We have moved to our permanent place which has helped to make me feel more settled. Best part – there is a study that I can make into a sewing room! YAY! xx

  9. So happy to hear you are getting settled. I cant even imagine what it would be like to live in a country where i didnt speak or understand the language but on the flip side you and your family are having an adventure that you will always remember! You will make new friends quickly i know – and youll have your sewing room to organize..enjoy and keep exploring!

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