So I’ve gotten this question more than any other question in the past year. “Why would you ever move to China”? My answer, the short version, it was time for a change. But of course it was more than just letting the wind blow me where it saw fit. I’ll explain the full, much more complicated version…
A little background
When I was in college I spent two summers overseas, one in Okinawa, Japan and another in Seoul, South Korea. When I graduated I wanted to move overseas to teach, I tried to apply with the Department of Defense but their deadlines didn’t match up with when I would receive my teaching license, so I couldn’t do it right away. Even though that didn’t work out I told myself I would go for it the following year. I got a teaching job right away and after a year decided it would be better to wait and continue working there to get more experience. The idea of me living abroad started slipping further and further out of my mind. I was in the routine of working, working out, hanging out with friends and family, dating and I got really comfortable. Teaching took up almost all of my time at work and at home and it didn’t pay well so the thought of traveling was stressful because I rarely had any extra money. I squeezed in a few trips over those 6 years and each trip reminded me how much I wanted to travel more and more but then I would go back to real life and it slip back into the routine.
Another thing about me, I am all about love. I love it, I love hard and if I love you, you will know and I want to build a life together. During these 6 years after college I had two serious relationships. Both men, I really loved and saw a future with so I didn’t consider moving overseas at that time. For me, putting that much distance in a relationship didn’t seem to be like a wise decision. I want to see the person I am with all the time, be there physically, I was happy being in the same location as my significant other.
Work and love
My 6th year of teaching was the worst year of my career. I was teaching, tutoring, coaching cheerleading, and I was exhausted. I left for work at 6am everyday and many times didn’t get home until after 8pm. There had been a lot of changes work, not for the best and I had very little support from my principal and was treated very poorly. I knew career wise I needed to get out of there, I needed a break, but it didn’t seem realistic. Money was always tight so it’s not like I could just quit and do something else. I was starting to burnout, and feel very negative despite the steps I had taken a few years prior to get myself to much more positive and happy place. I had great friends and coworkers but the stress started seeming endless. It was becoming a toxic environment for me.
Here’s the other piece, in April 2016 it seemed like my world quickly fell apart.
I was living with my boyfriend (Yes, I’m a sinner I know) and we had to move because the owner we were renting from wanted to sell. I’m pretty good in tough situations so quickly I found somewhere else, but I was getting so much resistance throughout the whole the process from my boyfriend. Things had been changing, and he finally told me that he wanted to get his own place. This was a shock to me, but I guess it shouldn’t have been. I saw all the signs but when I asked him about it he just told me I worried too much, was being crazy, etc. how some men like to do. But I wasn’t because something had been wrong. Another lesson to trust your intuition.
At this point I started looking for my own place instead of a place for us together. I had been living in Toledo since I was 18, and thought of moving into an apartment there was just so unappealing to me. I started looking for jobs in Cincinnati and Columbus, different cities in Ohio where I had looked before and would enjoy living. I didn’t have any reason to stay planted in Toledo anymore, I wasn’t okay with moving backwards in a relationship after almost 3 years. He said he didn’t know that he didn’t want us to be together…which didn’t sound to sure to me. If I’m all in with someone I’m all in and I couldn’t base my life off of someone maybe wanting to be with me. So it seemed like it was time again to make a move. As I was job hunting in different places the idea of teaching overseas came back to me.
I could feel that it was time to go, if I was ever going to do it. I didn’t need to wait to be with someone to see the world and do all the things I was waiting to experience. I didn’t want to wait, put my life on hold while someone figured out if they wanted to be with me or not. That’s not living, and I was ready to live. Of course I would miss my friends and family, but it was time.
I decided I would go for it this time, that way I would have at least tried. I could end up having a horrible year, but I already had a horrible year and lived through it, so why not? I found a site, Teaching Nomad, that interviews and links you up with potential schools. My heart wasn’t set on a specific location I just knew I wanted to go, I was open to different locations; China, Abu Dabi, South Korea. I interviewed with a few different schools and ended up here in Beijing.
I took a chance and it could’ve gone terribly wrong, but it didn’t. I could feel it was time to go, I trusted myself and took a leap. This experience has been better than I could have expected. Here I am, living and experiencing more from life than I ever have.