Four words I never thought I’d say, but I’m moving to China, and this time next month I’ll be living in Beijing.
How did this happen?
Well. I love living in Chiang Mai, and I was considering doing a CELTA course here so I could teach English. Technically you need a degree to teach in Thailand though, and while many people teach without a degree, I can’t be bothered doing any more visa runs or being at the mercy of a school that could potentially turn me over to immigration (Thai authorities scare me) so I took it as a sign.
Chiang Mai is a great place to live. And I love it here, I really do. It will be bittersweet leaving this awesome city since I still have a lot to see and it’s a fun place to live, so I’ll definitely be returning in the future.
But the truth is, I don’t quite feel like I fit here.
I’m not a backpacker who’s drinking in Zoe’s every night, and while I work online doing freelance work, I’m not working on an established business like the 30-somethings who meet up and work on projects. I’m not retired, I’m not part of a traveling family, I’m not a sexpat, and I’m certainly not here to “find myself”.
The truth is…life is a bit too easy here. If I wanted to I could eat nothing but Western food, spend all my time in coffee shops, and only speak to Thai’s when I’m buying something. I need something a bit more gritty and real at this stage in my life.
And you know what? China scares the crap out of me. But that is exactly why I need to go.
Some of the things I worry about include:
- The pollution
- The food
- Transport, and how I’m going to get around such a huge city with my shitty sense of direction
- All the spitting
- The public squat toilets
- Using the internet under “the great firewall of China”
While I always knew I’d visit China, I never really thought I’d move there. When I started thinking about my options, I realized I need to go somewhere that will challenge me. I want the adventure, I want to experience new things, and I also want to be able to save some money so I can finally go to Europe.
I’ve found a job teaching English in a kindergarten, and my apartment will be free, although I’ll be sharing with some other English teachers. At the end of the year I’ll be given my TEFL certificate, so I’ll have both a certification and experience that will allow me to teach in many countries around the world.
I’ll also be given two hours of free Mandarin lessons each week, so I’m looking forward to picking up a bit of the language.
This was a rather impulsive decision. One night I was researching jobs online and applied for a couple, the next day I had an interview, and a couple of days after that I signed the contract and booked my flight.
But many of my impulse decisions have been the best decisions of my life, and regardless of whether I end up loving or hating China, I’m sure as hell going to enjoy the adventure.