Why I Live In China

I realized today that though I've been along for this bloggin' adventure the whole way, some have not and they may be a little unclear as to my current motivations and reasons for living in a country that can often be rather crazy and confusing. So…

People come to China for a bazillion reasons. Some of the more popular are: 1] To experience a new culture (developed over 4,000 years and destroyed in about 50). 2] To learn Chinese (what an insane task that is!). 3] To travel and see a world different than anything they've known before. 4] To get away from life. 5] To donate time and knowledge doing good in a developing nation.

When I boarded that small airplane in Penticton, BC, last January I admit that these were all on my mind (all but that last one … I can be culturally-centric, but I don't think I ever believed I was doing the Chinese a favour by coming here). That was my first eight months. By the end of my eight months I had had enough. I was China'd out and was extremely excited to get out of the country, with an option to possibly return a year later and study Chinese – but long after I'd gotten a much-needed dose of Western culture and sensibilities.

That's when I made the easiest hard decision of my life. I stayed on.

I stayed for Maggie. I had finally, after quite literally eight months of avoiding it, confessed my love to the girl I had endlessly talked to, taught, learned from and – frankly – drooled over my entire time in China. I realized that I couldn't leave and always wonder if she was the one I was meant to be with (I'm 50/50 on that fate crap.. but meh.).

Turns out my gut was right, as I've spent the last eight months blistfully in love. Maggie and I are made for each other. We're great together. We have ups and downs, as ya do, but I've never felt more positive about a future with anyone. It's that future that has made me choose to do whatever needs to be done to make it work. Right now that means staying in China. To move to Canada involves a lot of very complicated things, the least of which not being the fact that we need to get married.

I wouldn't be with Maggie if I didn't think that was in the cards, but marriage is a tricky thing for me, and I don't want to just jump blindly (as I'm prone to with matters of the heart). As such, I've tried to take my available options and mould them around the things I can't change. So, what does China give me? A great resource for Chinese language practice (hense I'm learning Chinese) and a part time job that more than sustains myself and Maggie, which in turn gives me time. Time I'm using to finish my degree via distance education.

Number [4] in my list was "get away from life". That is a common reason people come here. It's easy to disappear in China, no one knows you, Chinese people treat you like you are some sort of English-speaking prophet (aka. profit), and you can generally live quite comfortably not going forward or backwards in life. This is not me though. I've never taken a step backwards when it comes to my life and would someone please explain this to my grandmother, as she seems to think I'm living a college student life with no responsibilities.

Though often used to support the irresponsible, ESL is not in and of itself an irresponsible career path. There are a hundred options for an experienced ESL teacher. One course I could choose is to finish my degree and then move to Hong Kong, where I could make upwards of $4,500 CAN per month to start. Not at all a bad wage. The other is use the experience as a stepping stone to illustrate international exposure, and cultural awareness to a company looking for a communcations manager.

Like all things, it's what you make of it and it would be unlike me not to make the most out of everything I do. Anyway, all of this is to give some outline, for those that might not know, why I live in China. My previous post may have passed the opinion that I was tired and just wanted to go home – and of course I have those days, but I know exactly how I'd feel back home, like I wasn't moving forward. My way forward wont always be in China, but it is for now.

PS: A new vBlog is up!!! Go check it out.

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