2017: No Summertime Sadness!

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 breakout 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!

Away from work I revelled in my Guanggu location for the final months, not to put a depressive not 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 anniversary since arriving in 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. That celebratory milk tea maybe have tasted sweet but he 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 Street. As one chapter was preparing to close I knew things would go out with a bang!

Reuniting with Mark, we went out for my final night out in Wuhan before saying goodbye to that Central Chinese City! I worked alongside Mark during the first semester of my second year at my kindergarten, he's 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 entitled Chinese few get their crazies on with much amusement, I channelled my 'Kia' persona and had those few gagged by what I served up on the dance floor! Moving on would it be to MUSE or straight to All Stars for the next phase 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 I had the time of my life slaying! The sun had already risen, my bed called me but what a night B!

The weekend before that craziness I decided to take one final trip to Wuchang, ready for Tanhualin once again since my first visit back in November 2015 I wanted to revisit that coffee street. Getting back to Merci served up the same cutesy experience, getting my caffeine and cake fix was great within that kitsch cafe. Desheng Bridge didn't have a name when I visited briefly during Tanhualin's first try, after seeing an over-edited snap of that down to earth market street on social media I was determined to catch a more realistic and honest view. The riverside called me even though the weather wasn't pleasant I wanted to catch my final glimpse of the Yangtze River. Summer 2017 had been mostly about working hard but having those snatched moments allowed the sun to shine when the rain fell from the skies. Keeping myself busy was the key, my China bestie Fiona had flew home after that point and I was dealing with it well but missed that Scottish pal of mine! Fiona had been my partner in crime for close to two years, she wouldn't have wanted me to be sad during the summertime! See you Fio!

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. Ready and shiny new in under four hours I spent a nice day in Liverpool getting my new passport, thankfully its valid for ten years with a few more pages I'll be good for a long while! Oh, Liverpool looked good!

Slipping into a lazy daze I have been getting my papers ready to send back to China, the dreaded visa process begins again 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, its had its up and downs but there's been so much to celebrate, its not over just yet so there's time to get it done! From making juice boxes, dancing the night away to then arriving home. Yes 2017!

Summertime Realness! 

Joseph Harrison 


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