The Next Step

My contract ends in June, and I’ve decided I don’t want to make Shiyan my home any longer.

Shiyan, Hubei, China
The campus and city from my classroom.

There’s a part of me that feels sad for this. After all, I don’t know if I’ll ever have the chance to visit China again, or see these kids I’ve taught, or go to the perma-fair where I asked Christina to be my girlfriend.

This is the place where I’ve found my fish from that “plenty of fish” sea, fell in love, where we’ve lived together for over a year, and so on. Beyond our relationship, we’ve made memories, developed palettes for the food, made friends, and come to love the culture (even when all of these things were, at some point or another, not so great).

Needless to say, I will miss China.

Since I decided this wouldn’t be the place to come back though, I’ve been on a search for what’s next. A lot of sources for expats cite that issue of feeling quite lost upon leaving the English-teacher-abroad career, so I’m determined to have a plan.

After much debate, I decided to apply for a graduate degree. I ended up being accepted for a dual degree program to get a Master of Public Affairs, and Master of Arts in Arts Administration! The program really seemed like a dream come true between the experiential requirements, and class offerings (this is coming from a girl that doesn’t care for school). I’ve learned a lesson in humility through this one- I over estimated my worth, assumed I would get some merit based aid since I was accepted so early, had better than average scores, etc, and began making plans to move to the state where the school is located. Wouldn’t you know it, it’s mid-March and I haven’t received a dime! I was quite depressed to realize I might not actually be given anything, making it downright stupid to even go to school (my career prospects don’t make a $28,000/ year loan smart to take).

There’s still a small possibility they offer me something, at least that’s what I gather from the internet and years passed, but I’m not holding my breathe. In a way, it’s a relief. There were things I was putting on hold to go to school for. (Although I suspect down the road I’ll be wishing I had gotten that degree when I hit another glass ceiling.)

For now, I’ll be applying to some internships, jobs, and programs. Mostly though I just want to enjoy being back at home. I sure do miss that good ole’ American landscape. If there’s one thing that hasn’t grown on me in China, it’s the pollution. I just never want to go for a walk, which is a real shame for someone that loves going on walks (and has no doubt contributed to my weight gain).

On a final note, it’ll be good to be able to live in a more southern area (such as my SC, or Tina’s TX). I want that year long sunshine.


2 Comments Add yours

  1. Megan says:

    It pains me to say it, but I don’t enjoy visit China anymore because of the pollution. Plus I find it very depression to see people everywhere in heavy face masks. Good luck with all your future endeavours!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s unfortunate! I can’t say I’ve seen a lot of face masks, but I hear the sounds of people suffering from respiratory issues.


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