Friday, January 21, 2011

When Life Throws You a Curveball

You remember my "big news" about taking a six-month teaching job in China? And how I said it was going to be a great opportunity and I was looking forward to it?

Well, that just fell through. Apparently, the Education Bureau recently changed its policy on foreign workers and Matt and I no longer are applicable for the working visa.

As the news came upon Matt and I rather suddenly, we're in a bit of a shocked state, trying to figure out where to go and what to do next.

But can I be honest with you? I'm relieved that the job fell through. And here's the bomb of a confession I've been withholding:

I kind of hate China.

There, I said it! I'm sorry, I know a lot of people are on the China train and raving about all the great experiences they had traveling in China but I'm afraid that's just not what I encountered. I wish I had, I really do, but I just didn't and I'm honestly sorry to say that I kind of hate China.

Let's not get into the whys of it right now (but I do promise I will blog more about my time in China and what made me hate it in the near future) but I'm back in Guiyang and had been looking for an apartment, meeting with school administrators, applying for my China work visa and freaking out!

I kept thinking: I hated China, do I really want to live here for six months? Will I be able to overcome this general bad feeling I get from China? Will the people here be nice to me the second time around? And the biggest question of all, will I actually be happy?

I was seriously going out of my mind here but now that the working visa didn't come through, I feel as though the hugest weight has been lifted from my shoulders.

But I also feel a little bummed.

You see, I'm a firm believer that everyone and every thing deserves a second chance. I may not have had the best experiences in China but that doesn't mean that it can't happen. Yes, I was nervous about the next six months of unknowns but isn't that what life is, or at least, should be all about? Taking chances?

Now that I won't have that opportunity, I'm disappointed that I won't get to experience a better China but, like I said, also relieved.

Now what? What do you recommend Matt and I do?

© Connie Hum 2011


  1. Hrmm... maybe teach in Korea? Or you know.. just come here to visit ;)

  2. @Julie C - NZ All in due time, Julie dear. But first, we need to make some money in order to afford the flight! =)

  3. I think it is wise and smart to accept that you 'hate' a particular place - and that's OK. Certain individuals will have their own experiences even if the same is similiar.

    i think there is strength in knowing this and accepting it! life is too short to give a place 2nd or 3rd or 4th chances...time to get on!

  4. @Anonymous Thank you for your comment! At first, I was really bothered that I didn't like China. I read so many blogs of other travelers who just LOVED China and I couldn't understand why I didn't. I felt like something was wrong with me but now, I've accepted that I just don't like China. And you're right, it is OK. I'm ready to move on and I'm looking forward to the next great adventure!

  5. Hey Connie!!

    What did the govt say?What was the issue?


  6. @Rick I guess they are now requiring all foreign English teachers to have at least two years teaching experience in order to qualify. Not really sure as we didn't deal with the Bureau ourselves. That's what the school told us this morning. =(

  7. Ahhh, don't say that! I'm moving to China next month & I'm really scared I'm going to hate it too. I've heard amazing things about the country from people living & working there... but I also developed a huge fear of the place in Japan (where they're all scared of China because it's big & loud & dirty & definitely not Japan). Luckily, my contract is less than 5 months so I (THINK I) can stick it out that long.
    Good luck on deciding your next stop. Chiang Mai was super nice to me (if terribly fattening), so I'd definitely recommend it if you're looking for a place to hang out while deciding your next stop.

  8. @Sally Don't be scared, Sally! Just because I didn't have a good experience doesn't mean you won't! I'm sure you'll have a great, life-changing time in China. As for our next destination, nothing has been decided but we're thinking Malaysia as it's a place neither one of us has been to. It just really depends if we can find a job! Keep in touch and let us all know how China treats you!

  9. Awww, man, I'm sorry to hear that. And I'm relieved that your experience aligns with how you really feel: you were not feeling right about doing it and then you get a chance to bail. Stars aligning for you. Fierce. I miss you and love you.

  10. Good Luck with the job search. And you are right in having your own opinion. I always pin things down to the old "you'll get where you're supposed to be going when you get there." Wherever it's meant to be that you need to be, that's where you'll go. And when you know, you know. Sending good vibes your way! And maybe in the future when you've got more teaching time under the belt you'll open back up to China. Wherever you end up I'm sure it will be amazing!

  11. Well, now you can come to my wedding!!!!!!! But I sure am sad to hear that your plans fell through :(

  12. @puhhLEIGHze I know, right! I should try to follow my inner gut feelings next time! Love and miss you too!

    @Mica You speak wise words! I definitely think that whatever we do in life, things just naturally line up in a way that will most benefit you. Life works in mysterious ways and I'm positive that wherever I end up, it's going to be amazing! Thanks for the good vibes, it's much needed!

    @Global Butterfly Trust me, if I had the funds for it, I'd be at your wedding in a heartbeat!

  13. Ugh! Well, I agree with Mica. If you ruminate on it a bit, you will know where the best place for you is at this time in your life. You're brave to face the "bad" news and figure out a change of plans on your toes.

  14. I just noticed your blog and I'm sorry to hear that you feel that way towards China. I've been there before and know that the people and the environment there can be a bit of a challenge to deal with at times. But I think we all get a “sour lemon” every now and again on our travels right? I guess that why they say that “when life hands you an” lemon” just make lemonade” of the experience. Let me ask you, have you ever considered teaching in Japan?

  15. @ramblinbess Thanks for the encouragement! I'm sure wherever I find myself will be exactly where I need to be.

    @Eugene A new reader! Excellent! Trust me, I have tried my hardest to make China a lemonade. It just didn't work for me and I'm okay with that. Japan has been a thought and I'm still looking into all the options. Thanks!

  16. I'm sorry that your plan fell through but am glad to hear that it's actually for the best!

    It's okay to admit you hate a place, not every country works for everyone! The world would be a boring place if we all had the same opinions ;)

    Have you and Matt decided what to do? You could always teach in Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam... or you can get your WHV in Australia or NZ!

  17. @Sally

    Don't be afraid! Wuxi is really civilized! And clean! And connected to even cleaner/more civilized Shanghai by fast train! Seriously, the east coast cities are easy peasy. The Japanese don't know what they are talking about when it comes to China as a whole-- after all, some places here are dumps but others, not so.

    Mind you, it's okay not to like it. I have a like-hate relationship with my life here, after all. I do know a ton of expats who would live nowhere else (but they are possibly insane and/or really ugly men.

  18. @MaryAnne MaryAnne, your comment about the men made me and my boyfriend laugh out loud. Sad, but true. More to the point: YOU ARE SO RIGHT! Lots of places are more developed than we know and shouldn't be feared!


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