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Published: January 9th 2011
Never fear! Though my plans have changed they still include heading overseas and teaching. I just happened to have moved my relocation a few thousand kms to the North, a place commonly known as China. Yes folks, you heard right, China.
My reason for this change stems mainly from the all round better contracts that are offered in China, namely:
- flights are reimbursed,
- accommodation is provided,
- language lessons,
- air port pick up (very convenient when you don't share a common language AND are in a different country),
- westerner employers; they appear to be a bit more sympathetic and supportive (maybe us westerners are just soft!?),
- potential for bonuses/travel allowance
Plus a few other extras that vary from contract to contract.
There are a few other ways that I have rationalized China to be the better more intelligent course of action. Namely that Southern China is WARM. Yes, WARM. As in, in some places the temperature doesn't drop below 5 degrees even in Winter. Anyone that knows me well knows that this is second in importance only to food, and something very close to my heart. Also Mandarin is the second most widely spoken language in the world, so I may as well learn it. If I can speak two of the most commonly spoken languages then I figure I'm off to a good start. Considering I have no real idea as to my future career, I'm just telling myself that it might come in handy... Ahh the sweet sound of delusion.
I'm booked in for my travel shots next week, which being a total lover of needles I'm really excited about. Please note the sarcasm. I figure it can't be any worse than that time at the hospital where a newly accredited Dr stabbed my arm 5 times before handing me over to a nurse (who was successful first attempt, my appreciation for competency and nurses rose substantially at that point, thank you nurse - who ever you are).
Oh, also, I have been offered a couple of contracts and am currently debating which one to take. The forerunner has the drawback of having to share accommodation. Otherwise I would have signed it in a heartbeat. Share accommodation can be so hit and miss when you get to choose the person you live with, let alone when you are quite literally complete strangers. I'm sure it has its pro's and con's, all I can think about mainly is someone eating my food and having to remain semi-dressed at all times, not to mention cultural clashes (they are most probably going to be from another country). Hopefully I'll look back on this and laugh, but at this point in time I'm a little unsure.
The main drawbacks of waiting to sign a contract is that the cost of flights goes up daily, I can't give my employers an exact time of resignation (I've taken a weekend job bar tending with all proceeds going to my overseas travels), plus the whole uncertainty of knowing I'm going - but when?
I think I may have commented previously about how 'freeing' it is to be travelling, and how it really puts things into perspective. I don't have quite the same patience for pettiness, the same concern about what I look like when I go to the shops, what people think about me and other countless 'issues'. It's all the benefits and freedom of a mid-life crisis, just without the wrinkles and the debt. Yes, I have a slightly jaded view of old age - but its mostly for the benefit of that previous statement.
Another concern which I'm completely aware contradicts my previous paragraph concerns my hair. Yes folks I said it, my hair. Having an awful dishwater brown/blonde natural hair color means I subscribe to the fashion of bleaching my hair. Now, I don't know how much you know about China, but blondes appear to be a bit of a rarity. As a consequence, so are individuals who know how to bleach hair without it falling out, burning the scalp, turning green or anything else you can imagine happens when bleach is applied without expertise. Now, the moment I have more than 1cm of re-growth I feel I tend to look like a 2 bit hooker (no disrespect intended), a dirty slapper (no offence), or a dirty unkempt trash bag (...). As this takes about 3-4 weeks to occur I'm obviously going to encounter re-growth whilst overseas. Currently I'm discussing with my hair dresser teaching me to fix it myself. I actually think its a natural progression, before her I knew not what this curling, straightening, product, bleaching, fringe business was all about, so I may as well learn to fix regrowth myself now. Poor girl, I fear she's going to have a few hysterical phone calls over the course of the year.
Also, as always appears to happen the moment you seem set on your course and all is well something happens. In this case it's my laptop bidding its farewell. Not entirely a surprise seeing as how there's been a blue/red/white line across the screen for a few months, my sound/speakers work sporadically, there's a couple of keys that fall off on occasion, the top doesn't close as well as it use to, there's hand and finger prints from where I sit my hands most frequently, it's done a hell of a lot of travelling on planes, and the fact that it's 5 years old. So there's a bit of a dent in my travel savings but traveling without a computer isn't really an option for me.
A very sobering thought that I've had recently, and one which I try hard not to dwell on, is how much my little brother and my nieces and nephews are going to grow whilst I'm away. I can't help but ask questions like will they remember me? How big will they be? What milestone's will I miss out on? Particularly with my little brother who's entering high school this year, and turning 14. How awkward those teenage years are, I know my parents are more than capable of looking after him - I mean look at the perfect specimen I am (there's no emoticon with a tongue in it's cheek, so just imagine it) - but who's going to censor his porn? Keep him running and fit so he can either play sport and 'be cool' or be fit enough to run away from the bullies? Help him learn to touch type? Give him advice when he REALLY likes a girl? I know if I dwell on this stuff enough, it's enough to make me not want to go. Luckily I've aired my concerns with a couple of girlfriends, both of whom responded with the wise advice 'It's only one year out of many'. When put into perspective like that I realize they are right. Plus, that's what Skype and e-mail are for!
Ah well kids, until next time 😊
I'll leave you with my favourite quote of the moment:
"It's is not because things are difficult that we do not dare, it is because we do not dare that they are difficult"
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