We are currently in British Columbia, Canada. Enjoying a month off from work in China. Today I made the difficult and somewhat heartbreaking decision to move back to Canada for the next school year. This has been a difficult choice because I was starting to enjoy China and am extraordinarily proud of having succeeded despite some huge obstacles.
Some of the things I am proud of:
-a year ago I knew exactly one Chinese word: Nihao. Now we know many words and can order in a restaurant, order a cab, and navigate seamlessly around in the country with little difficulty. In less than a year. Months really.
-my son is becoming fluent in Mandarin and I am VERY proud of him. I regret that he will not be able to continue when we move and this was a huge part of why I was going to stay. However, I’m not sure his fluency would stay with him anyway since he is so young.
-We both made it through culture shock! From the first stage of enchantment (which was like being on a drug!) to the second stage of unhappiness and discomfort all the way through to acceptance and admiration. We both made it and I have noticed some big differences in how my son perceives CHina now. He went from crying in the car on the way to the airport to telling me that “China is good. Canada is good. They are both good and bad”. Big wisdom for a five year old.
-I can negotiate and bargain at markets. I love going to the market in our little town and next year I am going to miss it so much.
So why would I want to leave? Well some of it is obvious: the air is terrible and even considered hazardous. It’s dirty and uncomfortable there most of the time. It’s hard to be a single mother overseas alone, especially in a country where single parenthood is unheard of. The biggest reason I am coming here is for a job. I was offered a job at a school that really needs talented teachers and they tried their best to recruit me while I was here.
In hindsight I will laugh at the words ‘heartbreaking’ I’m sure, because no decision and no move is ever totally final. Things in life ebb and flow and change so I know that this decision is really only for 10 months and things will change and I will make decisions through this year. For some reason it felt like some kind of a failure though and I’m not sure why. I was so set on staying in China for another year before i left and to have changed my mind so completely in just a couple of weeks…that is hard to imagine.
Anyway…I have been so terrible about keeping this blog up to date that I thought I would try a little bit today. Until next time!