It is a sunny day in Nottingham on this fine Monday morning and according to Chinese legend, that means we are going to get a year of good harvest! What a good thing to start the week on, right?
The eighth day of the lunar calendar is said to be the ‘birth of the millet’ which is a very important crop for the Chinese. Millet is a grain that was commonly eaten before rice in Ancient China. Folklore says that if this day is bright and clear, then this whole year will be a harvest year; however, if this day is cloudy or even rainy, then the whole year will suffer from poor harvest. Even though the millet is no longer the key staple food for the Chinese population, it is a day of celebration for the food and agriculture we do have and mainly to appreciate the world we have.
Another name for today is “the Completion Day” as a week has passed since the New Year and it is the last day to finish all the food and other things prepared to celebrate the New Year period.
The next stop on my adventure takes me to the SiYuan centre, which is the Chinese school for the University, to a) have my mandarin class and b) to meet up with my next interviewee: Mark Alexander John (it’s too weird for me to write just Mark John when all his social media profiles include Alexander..!) also known as “张飞” (zhāngfēi)
He is a Scotsman who hails from somewhere near Glasgow and is a mature student studying an undergraduate degree in Contemporary Chinese Studies. Mark has spent the past decade living in China, working as a teacher then as a Recruitment Officer in one of the school’s head offices. He returned to the UK to learn Mandarin officially to be able to return to China with a qualification which would only benefit his working career from now on. He has become a great friend, and we’ve created a little group of four who study mandarin together and support each other through the stresses of any ridiculous mandarin sentence or anything alike…
Now on with my adventure… what does this man have to say? Firstly, he’s not a sentimental kinda guy and isn’t one who hangs about with loads of idiomatic advice to give out… But I made sure he gave me something that has been somewhat inspirational to him.
Everything will work out in the end
We spend so much timing worrying and fussing over the small things and sometimes reach points that mean we cannot view a situation with reasoning. In those moments, the best thing to do is (shamefully in Taylor Swift’s words) “shake it off” and find solutions.
Remember to let out all the emotions concerned whether it’s crying, binge eating, going to the gym or what not, then move on. Mark is a massive believer in ‘going with the flow’ and knowing that nothing is the end. The light at the end of the tunnel never dimmers but only brightens the more the work towards it. If you’re happy at one time, all the bad things that’ve happened previous to that are no longer valid and in Mark’s opinion, all those negative things we have bothered ourselves with are no pointless. It is true that you cannot have success without struggles, but it is so important to remember that we shouldn’t be so hard on ourselves and know that “every little is gonna be alright” (Bob Marley, Three Little Birds).
To me, this advice rings true in so many situations. When I was climbing the horrendously difficult Tiger Leaping Gorge in Southwest China with Lisa and Becky we all were ready to give up after the first half an hour… On the 28 bends (which is a step climb up the side of one of the cliffs) I realised that even though it was difficult and we kept stopping every few bends to breathe and let any poor mules carrying other tourists up the cliffside, it was impossible that we weren’t going to make it. Our intention was to do the Tiger Leaping Gorge and, unsurprisingly, we did it. But it shows that if you’ve set yourself a goal. You’re going to achieve it. Just like graduating. As students, we are soon to graduate, and there’s no point you worrying about the end point if you’re putting the work in now. If you’ve set your sights on a 2:1 and are working hard towards that, everything will work out in the end. If you think I’m wrong, do say! But I believe all of us are capable of what we set out to do. Just remember that no matter how big the challenge or risk, it’s all going to be ok!
Lots of love & have a great day everyone ❤