I’m sitting in the LA airport right now, just a few hours away from boarding a plane to Shanghai, China. Never in my wildest dreams did I think the words “I’m moving to China” would ever escape my mouth. But they did. Three months ago, in fact.
I’ve been hired by Disney English to teach English to little ones in Shanghai and I couldn’t be more excited! Two years ago, I lived in Spain for the summer and was hoping to return after a visit back to California…but things didn’t work out the way I wanted. Little did I know that the then supposed road of disappointment would actually be leading me to Disney…to Shanghai, all along.
Nine years ago, I became a certified TESOL/TESL teacher, meaning I can teach English as a second language–globally. When I was young and just starting to teach, I had dreams of teaching abroad someday and actually did consider China, Japan, or South Korea. But something held me back, and I took other roads. I only used my certificate in a local capacity while teaching English to foreigners.
Looking back now, I realize that I wouldn’t have been ready for that the way I am now. Now, I have nine years of formal teaching under my belt. I’ve been in education for twelve years, and I actually started tutoring/teaching English as a second language when I was seventeen. So…almost fifteen years, really, of teaching English. Does everyone need that kind of experience to teach English to non-native speakers? No, but it helps. It certainly has helped me and has made me confident in my teaching abilities.
What’s funny/ironic is that a few years ago, I was burned out from teaching. Honestly, at least in America, it can be a pretty thankless job, especially in the private sector. So I took a break. I started writing and editing; I picked up clients while freelancing, I traveled to Europe to kind of reset, and I began asking myself what I really wanted out of life. And, no matter what I did, the one common theme was that I really wanted more adventure. I wanted to experience more in my life and continue to travel–but I also wanted to have an impact on people.
What better way to do all that than go to a foreign country and equip people by teaching them English, the number one international language?
And more importantly, Disney?! Hell yeah! There’s no question about that. Disney is one of the best companies in the world, and let me just say that they are taking really great care of me.
I can see how all the twists and turns I’ve taken have led me to this very moment. To Disney. To Shanghai. To my future. It’s exciting and it’s humbling.
So, what’s next in this adventure? Well, I will arrive tomorrow in Shanghai and plan on going to dinner with some of my new coworkers. I plan on learning Mandarin and soaking up every part of Chinese culture I can. I am their guest and as such, I am going with the perspective that I need to be respectful at all times and make the effort to learn everything I can. Not just because it will make my transition easier–I mean, I AM freaking MOVING to China!!!–but because that’s what a good guest does; they learn about their host and what the rules of the house are so that they will be invited back.
Looking far forward, will China become my permanent home? I don’t know, but I do know that I’m open to it, certainly. I love my native state of California, but do you know how expensive it is? Especially as a single person? I’m not a computer engineer, and I haven’t met a billionaire to date/marry (yet, lol), so I need to live somewhere I can afford and not be scraping by all the time.
I definitely plan to continue to write once I become more accustomed to my new home, but I’ve decided to take a break for a few months from freelancing and editing. I need to focus completely on my new job and my students and do my very best. I need to be totally present as my life changes in a huge way.
I will be blogging here about my travels and will FOR SURE post pictures. So, stay tuned and look for my updates. It’s just barely starting to sink in that I’m actually doing this and will be gone a LONG time…maybe even longer. But I’m very excited for this opportunity and feel blessed that this door opened for me.
Well, folks, until next time! Wish me luck! I’ve got a 14-hour flight before I hit the ground again.