It has been awhile…but here is an update, and hopefully the first of many new blog entries.
When I signed up to teach English six years ago, I said it would be for one year. One year to see what life would be like living outside of the United States, and really, outside of the Poconos. China was a familiar place and I knew some of the language, not a lot, but enough. Within a few months I was already considering staying longer. I had made new friends, was traveling to new places frequently, and I was able to pay my monthly student loan bills. If I wanted to make more money, I could easily find tutoring jobs or offer to cover classes. Life was exciting and everything was new.
Going into this sixth year, I knew it would be my last at Carden China. Knowing this has given me a lot of time to reflect on the past six years and savor my remaining time living in Beijing. I feel like I have been able to accomplish quite a bit in my time here, including:
- Teach multiple grade levels
- Become an assistant director
- Practice yoga and Sanda
- Travel to several countries in Asia, Australia, and visit Hawaii
- Study Chinese and pass the HSK3
- Play tour guide to visiting friends and family
- Pay off my student loans
- Develop long-lasting relationships with students and friends
School has been out for about two weeks now. In that time Nick and I have packed up the belongings we want to keep and shipped them to the States, secured our police background checks, wired our money home, and shared goodbye meals with friends. We joke that we could probably get most of our to-do lists done in one day in the States, but it has taken us quite a bit of time to wrap up things here. We are looking forward to the efficiency of the States.
In between checking off our to-do list, we are stuffing our faces with our favorite Chinese food. Every time we eat at one of our favorite places, I’m always thinking, “When will I be able to get (insert all of my favorite Chinese food) again???” Sure we have tons of Chinese restaurants in the States, but they’re not the same. During some downtime, I looked into recreating some of our easier favorites like hot pot. Finding the soup base and sesame paste online is comforting. Once we settle down somewhere new, I imagine sitting down around our hot pot with new friends, and hopefully some old Beijing friends, making new memories.
Transitions are tough, but I am ready to see what comes after life in Beijing.