I don’t know where to start! Summer seems to have flown by so fast and it feels almost scary coming back to blogging after such a long time away from it, but I’m determined to get back into posting regularly. I’m going to start with a really brief overview reflecting upon my summer and everything that has happened. I would love to write about everything in detail but I think that would need several blog posts to prevent me writing a short novella!
Orchestra Tour to Italy
My summer began with a 26 hour coach journey travelling to Tuscany for orchestra tour; I’ve always wanted to visit Italy but never been before now and it certainly didn’t disappoint! The weather was lovely and warm (if a little too hot to play inside churches dressed in all black!), and the views were absolutely stunning. We visited Sienna, Florence and St. Luca during the day and then would have a short rehearsal before the concerts. The Italian culture of staying up later, as it’s a lot cooler in the evening, meant that our concerts were starting at around 9pm. The Italian audiences were so appreciative and friendly and really enjoyed the music. We played the Vltava by Smetana, Borodin’s Second Symphony, and Elgar’s Enigma Variations. One of my personal highlights was the food! I love Italian and got to taste authentic Italian pizza, pasta and gelato!
China Language Course
Two days after I returned from Italy I was on a plane halfway across the world to China. This was an incredible experience and definitely made me want to travel more and explore different cultures and languages. In total I spent five weeks in China, for the first four weeks I took part in a language course studying Mandarin intensively for 4 hours a day in Shijiazhuang; I spent the last week exploring and sightseeing in Beijing. So many things happened such as spending over 12 hours in a station, travelling overnight on a hard seat train and getting around the city on the back of electric bikes! I would love to write more blog posts about what I got up to in China in more detail so keep an eye out for that!
I was not ready for the immense hot and humid weather that China experiences in summer, and with that also the sudden storms and downpours that would flood the street and cause a two day power cut in the village. I was also taken aback but the amount of people and how busy it was everywhere, but we soon learnt to factor extra time for travelling into our journeys in order to get to places on time! In Beijing I visited many places including the Yonhe (Lama) Temple, The Forbidden City and some really beautiful parks.
I travelled to China with one of my friends who I don’t often see so it was amazing to catch up and spend time together whilst travelling. We both stayed with host families during the language course which really immersed and surrounded us by authentic Chinese culture and helped our speaking skills improve immensely. We both formed such strong relationships with our host families and it is is something I would highly recommend! Do let me know if you would like to hear more about this and if you have any questions!
Due to travelling I wasn’t at home much having gone away straight from uni, but it made me really appreciate the time that I did spend at home with my family and friends. When I first arrived back it felt really strange to be back and engaging in ‘normal life’ again. Even after being away for only six weeks, the independence I had gained and fun I’d had travelling made being back seem almost boring and un-exciting. However after sleeping off the jet lag (which wasn’t actually as bad as I had expected!) I began to enjoy the home comforts and appreciate not always having to cook and do laundry for myself!
I tried to meet up with as many people as I could as the academic year is always so busy and I realised how much I had missed seeing my school friends everyday. It was lovely to catch up with so many people, some of whom I had not spoken to for a long time, and find out what everyone was doing! I was at home for my birthday which was a really lovely day. I went out for afternoon tea with my family which was especially nice just to spend time together as my sister is also off to university this year!
I can genuinely say that this has been one of the best summers, I’ve had some amazing experiences and made so many wonderful memories. I’ve had to learn to adjust to so many different situations, but this has really helped my confidence and made me want to travel more! I have also met some incredible people, making new friends but also catching up with old friends, who have inspired me in different ways. I have only briefly touched on everything that happened but will write more about each individual experience in later posts!
What my summer has shown me:
- I want to travel to more different places and learn different languages
- How nice it is to be at home and how lucky I am
- Life is amazing and I am so excited for the future and to share it with you all!
I would love to know how your summers have been and what you think of this! Please let me know in the comments, and if you would like to hear more about any part of my summer and look out for more travel-related posts coming soon!!