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?


  1. Wishing you the best as you continue your adventure and journey. I like your reminder to cut ourselves slack! We don't have to have it all figured out and it's hard to remember that.

    1. Jeni, thanks so much for your kind words! I just need to take it one day at a time, it'll all come together eventually :)