Wednesday, 14 March 2018

7 Things I Learnt about Myself in Beijing

During my time in Beijing I’ve learnt a lot about myself and this has kind of reshaped the direction of my life. Well, let’s be honest, there wasn’t really much direction to it before I went to Beijing, but I’I've definitely found some while here. I wanted to share some of the things I’ve learnt about myself over the past 4 years, because some of them genuinely are ground-breaking to me.

1.     I’m a home bird- I never, ever thought I would say this. I’ve always been pretty free-spirited and looking for the next opportunity to jet out, for a few days break, a summer long holiday or to live. Now, four years later, I’m craving my own home. I want a place to belong, a place that I can call my own and make my own. Don’t get me wrong, if somebody says “fancy a holiday?” I’m definitely not going to say no, but when I moved to Beijing I thought I would be an expat forever. Now I know in no uncertain terms that I have absolutely no desire to do that, or at least to be a floating expat.

2.     I can teach – I used to lack confidence in my own ability and always second-guessed myself. Now I know I can teach and I can teach well. Of course, there’s always room to learn new things and I’m open to that, but I would never let anybody tell me that I was a bad teacher, because I know I’m not. This confidence issue was always holding me back and I’m so glad that I finally bloody learnt that I can do this.

3.     I can also lead (but don’t want to) – Because of the above confidence issues, I never ever saw myself as a leader. I kept my ideas to myself in case everybody thought they were bad ideas and never thought I’d ever be in a leadership position. I am, and I do it well, but I hate it. I’m happy to know that I can do it and proud of what I’ve achieved, but I have no desire to lead. Teaching is what I love, teaching is what makes me smile and I’m excited to get back to a job that I love again.

4.     I want a baby (one day, maybe soon) – For years I’ve been adamant I absolutely 100% did not in any way wat a baby. If I was by some form of nightmare from hell forced to have a child, then I would definitely be adopting a walking, talking, fully-functioning child. Now, I’m the girl who finds babies cute, regularly discussed baby names in general conversation and squeals at the cute baby clothes in every shop I go into. Don’t get me wrong, the idea of holding a baby still bloody terrifies me, I mean, they’re so breakable, but I see a baby (or 3) in my future. Who knew?!

5.     Death terrifies me – This is a bit of a weird one guys, please don’t judge. Being an expat and living so far from home and the people I love makes me think about death so much more. It just makes life seem so much shorter and the idea of being so far away makes it so much scarier. I regularly think about what would happen if a loved one died while I was abroad (so morbid, I know!) and start to panic. Would I get time of work to go home? Could I afford it? What if I didn’t get home in time? How could I live with the guilt? I’ve read posts from other expats about similar worries so I think it’s maybe a general expat feeling, but it absolutely terrified me beyond anything I can describe. I kind of hope that feeling fucks off when I move home because it’s not a nice one.

6.     People are everything – I’ve never really valued the people in my life as much as I should. I’ve often chosen to watch Sex and the City in my pjs on a Sunday over going to the cinema with my bestie or having a lie-in over visiting family. I suck, I know! Living abroad has made me realise that you really do have to make the effort with the people you love, because the people in your life really are everything. If you don’t have good people in your life, then what is life really? I’ll be making more effort when I return to the UK for my next holiday and in the next place I live.

7.     Happiness is my priority – Of course happiness is a priority, isn’t it for everybody? The thing is, I’ve realised what happiness means, or at least what it means to me. I used to have a huge bucket list of all of the things I wanted to do – tick off every country in the world, swim with sharks, so many things that I actually have no desire to do and were simply on a list because I thought I needed to do and experience everything. I’ve realised that happiness isn’t about doing it all, it’s about doing what you do with your whole heart, with people you love and throwing everything you’ve got into the life you live, the moment you’re living and making the very most of it. Happiness isn’t about being the best, it’s about being your best, most positive self in each moment. That’s what I want!

Possibly not ground-breaking, but some of the things I’ve learnt about myself over the last few years have genuinely surprised me. I value my time in Beijing so much for the clarity it has given me about my life.

What have you learnt about yourself that surprised, pleased or disappointed you? Let me know in the comments.


  1. Love this post. So, so much to agree with, especially #2. Had to be reminded that just yesterday. xxx

    1. Thanks B! Ugh I saw your post about that - asshole men! xxx


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