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My China diaries: How China changed my personality

By Zhorea Shara Garcia | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2017-10-19 15:56

My China diaries: How China changed my personality

Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn

I was not much of an adventurous person before coming to China. Back home, I spent my whole life at work, and therefore, I had so much stress that I could ever imagine. But at last, I decided to leave that life behind and went after my dream of studying abroad for my postgraduate degree.

My China diaries: How China changed my personality

Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn

Thanks to the Chinese government scholarship, I was able to come to China and fulfill my dream as an international student in Central China Normal University located in Wuhan, Hubei Province. In my two years of master’s study, I collected a bunch of wonderful memories that China had given me for the first time. I have called it my China diaries since I always wrote a journal about my personal experiences.

My China diaries: How China changed my personality

Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn

One of those great memories was joining a hiking marathon or climbing to the top of mountain. I did not win the marathon, but the sight of the beautiful landscapes I had seen along the way was enough for me to cherish. I am not much of a beach person, so even though my country has so many beautiful beaches, I seldom enjoy planning about trips to beaches. In China, I found that hiking is one of the best leisure activities of Chinese people. Not only is it leisure for them, but it is also a way of visiting temples, maintaining a strong mind and body and appreciating the nature. I have never been fond of hiking or climbing a mountain until I came to China. My memories with foreign friends as well as Chinese locals have been the most riveting in my memory. Some of theplaces I visited include Zijin Mountain, Mufu Mountain, Zhongshan Mountain, Fangshan Geopark and Yinshui Cave Geopark during my Zhongxiang trip with international students through the Wuhan Students Travel Club. The visit to Zijin Mountain last year was the most challenging yet very memorable to me because of the harsh weather in winter during that time and the long hours of journey to reach the top. More importantly, I was with my two Chinese best friends who brought me there. It took us more than six hours to climb up and down the mountain that we already caught up with the dark. It was scary, but was worth it. It was three days before the new year of 2017 when we visited Zijin Mountain. Since I have learned to love hiking, I decided to do my last hiking moment before I graduated.

My China diaries: How China changed my personality

Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn

The temperature at that time reached to a freezing point. My hands were stone cold and my face went very pale already. I thought I was not going to make it. For me, it was like climbing Mt. Everest, except I have to exaggerate it because it was my first time to be in that situation. Of course, climbing Mt. Everest is still more than double the temperature I experienced. Anyway, I did not give up and kept rubbing the palms of my hands together in order to release some heat and keep warm. When we reached the top, it was just so mesmerizing. The sunset view was the best of all. One of my friends took a photo of me and my Chinese girl friend as if we were clutching and sharing the sun with our hands. We stayed on top for a while, until we felt that we should be leaving before we could totally freeze to death.

My China diaries: How China changed my personality

Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn

Hiking made me an adventurous person as opposed to the monotonous life I had before coming to China. There was so much passion that was brought to me by hiking for hours, and seeing the locals even the old ones, marched their way up to the peak. Now, I prefer mountains to beaches because I believe that climbing mountains gives someone a sense of direction, a motivation to reach your goal no matter how hard or unimaginable it could be.

There is more life through my veins than ever and I can say that even though there is so much to accomplish, I will be able sort things out and pave my way to success. As I have returned to China for my PhD study, I know I will be having more of these adventures that can nurture me as a human being. There will be more personal stories to write about on the pages of my diary.

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