My “WHY” in China

It’s hard for me to put into words all the things I have experienced these last 4 months. To be honest, moving here has probably been the most challenging thing I’ve done in a long time. It’s not easy, and I do recall people telling me that it wouldn’t be easy. But I did it anyway.

But WHY?

In June before I left my Uncle asked me, and it was more of a redundant question-“so you’re really doing this? You’re going to China?”

All I could say was “yep, I’m going to China”.

I don’t think my close friends or family were really surprised. Moving abroad was something I always wanted to do, but I never had the guts to actually do it. Its something that I talked about for a long time, I considered the peace corps and other similar programs even. I just knew I wanted to see more. To do more. But the idea of actually moving overseas terrified me.

It’s not that I was scared to be on my own or away from loved ones. The thing that terrified me the most was that stupid FOMO (fear of missing out).

This world we live in has all these societal pressures to accomplish certain things by a certain age, and to be honest I put those expectations on my life. I have always lived according to what I was supposed to do. I let my family keep me on a high pedestal for a long time and I was so scared of letting them down, and becoming a disappointment.

In my mind, what I needed to do was become successful in whatever career I choose, make money to pay off my student debt, yet also save so I can do the things I want and build a fortune. I needed to find true love, because despite the heartbreak I am a hopeless romantic, get married, have a family and raise my children with my best friends. That’s what I was supposed to do. Why? Because that’s what I saw so many people doing, and for me that looked safe. It looked secure. It was home.

But I also knew that even though it was a safe, that’s not what I really wanted. I knew I wanted to go and experience the world. And I mean really experience it. I didn’t want to settle down, because quite frankly, settling down isn’t appealing to me. I want the freedom to get up and go as I please, but maybe it’s because of the place I was at in my life. I digress.

I needed to face my fears, step out of my comfort zone, and to actually live the life I wanted to live- and not just to wait until my bank account had a certain amount of 0s. Because let’s be honest, as an educator in the States the only 0s I was going to see in my account were red.

So I asked myself, why am I waiting? Why am I not chasing after my dreams? Why am I not living the life I want to live?

The next thing I knew I was calling my grandmother, asking her if I moved overseas if she would watch my cats (Fitz and Gatsby), she immediately agreed. So with that I was like ok, my cats (they were my babies), are going to be fine, now what other excuse can I get rid of?

At the time I was also in a relationship, for about year, and I told him what I was doing. And honestly, he was supportive. Or at least acted supportive. Regardless of how he responded I knew I was going to do this. My idea with that relationship was that if it is meant to be, then somehow it’ll work out- but I was moving for myself. And I wasn’t going to let anything hold me back.

I made the decision right then and there that I was going to apply and see what happens. My thought process was simple, if I am meant to move overseas, then I’ll get an job somewhere, but if it’s not meant to be then it won’t happen.

In December last year I accepted the offer for my current position, and honestly I didn’t question it. I think the hardest part after accepting the offer was telling one of my best friends that I couldn’t be in her wedding in August, because I was already going to be China. (But of course I have the best and most understanding friends, and as much as it sucked not being there for her, she even told me that I “have to live my life and do what I need to do”).

So again, the question is why am I in China?

Let’s be honest, the salary, benefits, and travel opportunities were a huge draw for me. It’s hard to pass it up, it’s why most teachers come to China, I won’t sugar coat it. But also I needed this. I needed to be pushed out of my comfort zones, I needed to be challenged, and I wanted to experience life in a new world,

And I can say- I have been pushed and challenged in ways I wasn’t expecting. These last 4 months have been challenging, but I remind myself that I came here for that. I came here to grow. I came here because I felt stuck where I was, and it was time for me to move on.

It was time for me to live for myself, and not for the world I was living in.

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