So this will either be one big long post or it will be a few snippet posts. But it’s happening now and I’m getting it all down so I can start posting about my life so far here in Beijing.
First of all, if you would have told me a year ago that my life would look like this, I would have laughed and said, “Maybe” or “Challenge accepted”. One year ago today, I was still student teaching at a teeny tiny school just outside of the teeny tiny town I lived in. I was loving every minute of it and I was looking into teaching jobs any where and every where. My boyfriend had just told me about this sort of maybe job in Beijing. (We hadn’t started using that four letter word yet) And I was fine with it. I was fine because I knew no matter where I ended up, alone or not, I would be happy. I knew I was ready to move, any place and start working and doing my thing. I applied to lots of jobs in every state, I even looked into jobs abroad. No bites. So I started thinking “ok, well I will only be student teaching for another month, I need to find work, soon!” So I found a few jobs in the teeny tiny town I was living in. And got by on a teeny tiny paycheck. But I didn’t stop searching for jobs, I kept looking and applying. Fast forward to January, the boyfriend and I were using the four letter word and he even asked if moving to Beijing would be something I would be interested in. I was really surprised, not because he asked me but because I never considered China to be anywhere I would be interested in living or working. (I had a very different picture of China before moving here) I said to him “Let me do some research” and so like the organized type A part of me would, I started compiling loads of research and talking to LOTS of people. I was still applying to jobs in lots of different states, I just also started applying to some jobs in Beijing as well. I even had 2 interviews within a month of looking and applying. Both interviews went really well and I wanted one job more than the other but I was still looking just in case to find the best fit for me. I told Nick in February that I needed to do what was best for me and I wouldn’t be willing to teach English in China (there are tons of those jobs) that I would only move somewhere to teach Art and follow my dreams to start my career. (he was surprised, a little sad, but impressed. Me too.)
I spoke with a few friends and professors about their experiences in China and if they thought it would be a good idea to move there. Everyone unanimously said, yes. I felt really excited about the possibilities, and the changes. After talking to a few more friends who had no experience of China, I just kept it simple, I’ll go where ever the job is.
So now let’s move forward to April, I believe it was around then. I had applied to more jobs in Beijing and in the states. The job I I interviewed for in Beijing ended up not being able to hire a foreigner because of moving costs. And I just couldn’t bring myself to e-mail them and say well thanks anyways. I found a few art teaching jobs and my heart would flutter every time I clicked on one to send them my credentials. I found this really cool looking international school with a job posting for Visual Arts and I thought to myself, “hmm.. what the heck.” Within a day I received an e-mail that said “Sorry, the position has been filled, however we will keep your application on file.”
After about a week I finally e-mailed the job that had to turn me down to let them know that I would still be moving to Beijing so if they needed a substitute I would be willing to apply for that. They wrote me back right away to tell me they had a position open up and that they still would love to hire me, even just for that. I was pretty stoked, even though it wasn’t my dream job. Then the next morning I received an e-mail from the cool looking international school and they had asked if I would like to interview for the Art teaching position that had suddenly become available. I started dancing on the bed and feeling so excited. Nick was thrilled for me but kept his composure and said, “It is just an interview, you didn’t get the job yet”. And naturally I said very casually, “Who wouldn’t want to hire me?” I asked the first position for more information and set up an interview for the other job. And then magic happened…. after I interviewed with the second job, I sort of knew in my bones I really really wanted the job and that was the one for me. (even though I thought I did terrible in the interview because it was over Skype) I couldn’t stop looking at the schools website and thinking, yeah this is kinda perfect for me!
A few days later they e-mailed me with the proposed package and I let the other job down as gently as I could and graciously accepted my position as a Visual Arts educator. I felt like I was on a cloud.
By the end of April, Nick and I were trying to plan out our summer and a few things were looking certain, we needed to move to Beijing by August 1st and we needed to move his stuff from Alfred, NY to his parents house in Oregon. A road trip seemed like it would be the best bet.
In May we set a date to leave Alfred in June. We had a yard sale to raise some money for gas, packed everything up, donated what we couldn’t take with us and we hit the road.