Friday, June 26, 2015

Photo Friday: Yongqing County, China

Yongqing County, China
June 3, 2015

Friday, June 19, 2015

Photo Friday: Baitasi Temple

Baitasi Temple
Yongqing County, China
June 3, 2015

Friday, June 12, 2015

Photo Friday: Great Wall

The Great Wall, Mutianyu
Beijing, China
May 26, 2015

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

6+ Months In China

It has now been more than six months of living in China for me. I had every intention of posting sooner about where I'm at with my life here, but I could never quite find the right words.

When I first decided to move to China, I was in the midst of my divorce, I graduated months before with my masters degree and I was searching for a job. I was also craving adventure and travel; two things that had been sorely missing from my life. My plan was to move to China and teach ESL for a year while I figured out what I wanted to do next. I was in a great position because I had nothing tying me down and I could do absolutely anything I wanted. This was equally terrifying though because my life had completely up-ended and I had no idea what it was that I wanted anymore. I had no long term goals or even a solid career choice to work towards. I thought that over the next year, I would figure it all out. Then I would return to the states in pursuit of the dream career I came up with once the dust had settled. 

Well, life doesn't always go the way we plan. After I returned to school following the Spring Festival holiday in February, I still had no idea what I wanted to do next. I've spent the last few months trying to discover my career passion. I truly had nothing pulling me in any direction or even something compelling me to move home, move somewhere else or stay in China. Finally I decided that I needed to cut myself some slack. There is no rule that I need to have my life all figured out in one year. I was placing unrealistic expectations on myself and the only thing it was doing was creating anxiety for me.  So what if I still don't know which direction my life is headed. I'll get there eventually and I can still enjoy life day by day, picking up new experiences as I go.

Ultimately, I decided to renew my contract with the school I am currently teaching at. I solely based the decision on the fact that I have a job here, an apartment here, and I've started to make my life here. At least that is something. If I moved again, I'd be starting all over at the beginning having to secure a job, apartment, and meeting all new people. At this point, I'm not ready to start from scratch all over again. I realized that I haven't taken a lot of photos over the past few months, which tells me that I am growing accustomed to my environment and I feel at home. The weirdness of China has started to grow on me and feels almost normal. 

Recently, I discovered that I like teaching ESL but I don't love it. It's okay for now as a job, but I won't make it a career. I'm gaining valuable experience that will transfer to other fields though, so I'm taking it for the experience that it is. I do love living abroad and I dread the thought of returning to a job in the USA with only two weeks of vacation a year. I love having so many exciting places to explore close to my home. I also discovered that what's been missing in my past jobs is respect. I never felt challenged or appreciated for my skills and abilities. I know that I'm capable of so much more than I've been given credit for. I want to feel like I am contributing something to a great goal rather than just pushing papers and punching a time clock. This is something I'll keep in mind as I seek the perfect career field for me. 

Over the next year, I hope to continue my path to self discovery. Little by little I imagine I will put the pieces of my life back together again and find a career that really drives my passion. My friends tell me that I'm in the middle of some romantic comedy. I just haven't found my happy ending yet. Someday, all the pieces will fall into place and everything will make sense. For now, I'm still in Act I struggling to find myself. As hard as that is, it's still a part of the story.     

What drives you to stay where you are or move on to something new?