No Summertime Sadness! ... Wuhan, Passports & Reunions!

Summertime during 2017 has so far been busy, mad and worth every second whatever happened during my final month in China and beyond. Concluding my final term of teaching in Wuhan, China I got up to a lot during that July period but here and after things have been on an England hype! It's been a mix bag of experiences, I'm gunning for the next chapter! Honestly, I'm ready!

Applying myself to my kindergarten English teaching duties, it was time to break-out the Summertime curriculum! With the Casa classes, it was time for us to read and explore 'Summer' a picture book displaying lots of fun things that can done during the Summer. I made butterflies and fish from card and yes they were all handmade, they loved catching them and having a little bit of mild competition. Singing the 'Summer song' the children and I loved every single moment! Beating the heat during my final week we made some juice boxes from card, I had made a prototype but like always I was amazed by the kids boundless imaginations! The previous two years had been a challenge worth excepting, at the end of things it was worth every moment to see the children have fun and progress with their English skills along with their character. It's not just being about the English for me its fundamental a child's confidence soars! With Beijing firmly in my sights, my time in Wuhan has set that China foundation strong! 加油! 

During those final mornings, I had a crazy feeling that almost felt like completion because I had made it through my first two years in China. Working as an English Teacher within a Kindergarten in China had not been my first choice, it was purely meant to be that Wuhan's crazy beginnings would take me to those Early Years Education moments. The first year had its moments but in the grand scheme of things, the first semester was for me to settle in. Without much training I found myself creating English displays and all kinds of language materials with an experimental stance because that budget was no joke! Not to knock the situation it gave me the fire to carry on and go forth, to create the best classes and materials that I possibly could. The career move from hospitality to teaching was a no-brainer, with my TEFL certificate in hand and zest for life I found myself teaching my own classes and in the second year I became a teacher trainer because the new recruit from England needed some serious help. Beijing ready?

Away from work I revelled in my Guanggu location for the final months, not to put a depressive note on this because I was seeing my chaotic area with a new perspective. During that Summertime I felt humbled to have gone through such a journey in that corner of Wuhan. Taking a walk into Guanggu on the two year anniversary since arriving into Guanggu, two years on, I couldn't believe how I had slotted in with that life and moulded into the rhythm of that berserk environment. Getting a Happy Lemon bubble milk tea had to be done, rewinding back to my first few days in Wuhan I had chosen Happy Lemon over other milk tea brands. It was a milestone sweet milk tea treat during that July 2017 moment! That celebratory milk tea maybe have tasted sweet but the journey hadn't been easy but I didn't want things to be plane sailing. Meeting up with Tony we had a lovely milestone meal, no Chinese for that celebration for we had tacos and burgers at Devil's Brewery on Guanggu St. I had what on the brain? Boys, boys, boys! 

Busy thinking about those connections that I had made during my Guanggu time, I had some serious feelings to process and feel before my high speed train would depart for Shanghai's flight. Tony would be off on his own adventure to teach Chinese in Indonesia, because we both had things to do, that kept the sadness away for sure. Yes, I sensed some sadness during that Summertime period. I'm sure that Chen connection will be with me forever in some way! Wuhan itself was a place that I had backwardly learned how to love, through the berserk nature and crazy times, I had a lot of love for that Hubei city! Making those last day trips had me sopping up those final experiences. I knew that in my heart of hearts, I would return to Wuhan and I will because there's no chance that Central Chinese powerhouse will ever miss me too much! Tanhualin and Desheng Bridge deserved my attention for one final time, with a rain sodden view over to Jianghan for good measure. Yes, I really do miss those 热干面! 是, I really do miss them! 

Reuniting with Mark, we went out for my final night out in Wuhan before saying goodbye to that Central Chinese City! It was eventful to say the very least! I had worked alongside Mark during the first semester of my second year at my previous kindergarten. Mark is a great guy and we got each other through the madness of that Autumn/Winter semester without a doubt. Meeting before the midnight hour at Hype on Zhongnan Road, we watched the young and privileged Chinese few get their crazy on with much amusement. You already know that I channelled my 'Kia' persona and had those few gagged by what I served up on the dance floor! Would it be one at MUSE or go straight to All Stars? That was the question of the night! The dancing juice had started to kick in and the night had only just begun! All Stars brought the beat and the drinks flowed ever more, dancing through to the early morning! Loosing my debit card on the way home was not the thing, I had to deal with that in some fashion but that hangover was epic! 不! 

Committing to no Summertime Sadness, I had spent the best part of the last year making the best memories with my China Bestie, Fiona. Those shenanigans had seen us through some crazy times and we both have some killer stories to tell from that time. Keeping myself busy was the key, my China bestie Fiona had flew home after that point and I was dealing with it well but I missed that Scottish pal of mine! Fiona had flown home a little earlier than I could have done, it was not a happy goodbye because we had been there for each other after that Chinese New Year moment in 2016. We had already decided that a reunion during that China hiatus would be the one. I had plans to fly up to Scotland, once I got home back to England I was back on that travelling thing to see Fiona in Glasgow! Getting those times out of my head won't ever do, we had the most epic and crazy time in Wuhan, China! Of course, we would be leaving that basic energy behind us in Wuhan. Not Wuhan, but some of those agency few needed to get their lives! 

Shanghai Pudong International Airport brought me back to the beginning, ready for take off I made my way home with Aeroflot Russian Airlines via Moscow to London's Heathrow Airport. Getting back to Bilston after two years felt down right weird but amazing in the same breath, I hadn't seen family for a while so getting back home was really nice. I didn't stop eating and in the present I'm still putting away some serious food because it'll be back to China soon but to Beijing! Getting out of Bilston a few days after arriving back to England I made an important trip to Liverpool to renew my passport. Wuhan didn't have a British Embassy, so I wasn't left with much of a choice but to get that renewal done as soon as I got home. Renewed and shiny new in under four hours I spent a nice day in Liverpool getting my new passport, thankfully it will be valid for ten years with a few more pages! I'll be good for a long while! During that August moment, Liverpool was golden, I had found the Chinese arch in the oldest Chinatown in the UK! 

Slipping into a lazy daze, I have been getting my papers ready to send back to China. The almighty dreaded visa process has started, it must be completed before I can board my one way flight back to the Middle Kingdom. What else do I have planned to see the Summer out? I'll be jetting up to Scotland to see Fiona as promised, we're going to be hitting the town during the twilight hour in Helensburgh! Glasgow is in my sights, kindly accompanied by Fiona we will sightsee as if our lives depended on it! Nights in Wuhan sure got scandalous for different reasons but I have been begging for a night out in Birmingham during my China hiatus, pulling the troops together I cannot wait to get down and shameless within the right kind of venues in Southside, Birmingham! Getting my life together its not being a bad Summertime so far, it has had its up and downs but there's been so much to celebrate! The Summer isn't over just yet so there's time to get it done! Making those juice boxes, dancing the night away before going home.


Joseph Harrison 


  1. It's nice to read about what Wuhan is actually like, as there's more to this city than the start of the pandemic. It looks like a great place to visit! I have to ask, though? Lemon Bubble Milk Tea? Is it nice? Am I missing out here LOL?!

    1. Thank you for reading and commenting Lindsay!

      Wuhan is an amazing place and I am heart-warmed to hear you speak positively about it because its been trashed and abused since this pandemic started.

      Ah, I had Milk Tea with Tapioca Bubbles. The brand was 'Happy Lemon'.



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