“Life is a journey to be experienced, not a problem to be solved.” – Winnie the Pooh
When I was four, I really wanted the Winnie the Pooh birthday party kit from the Sears catalog. I didn’t get it, but I persevered and got it for my 5th birthday.
When I was sixteen, I applied to be an exchange student. I wasn’t accepted, but I tried again the next year and ended up in Brasil.
I still love Pooh and his wisdom, but sometimes you’ve got to solve a problem so that you can experience the journey of life.
I’ve been wanting to go abroad again for a while now, and recently everything fell into place. A job was posted that fit my skill set; I applied, interviewed, and received an offer, which I have accepted. I will be teaching ESL at a high school in China.
Moving overseas is not for the timid. I got the job offer the last week of July and the school year begins on September 1. A month to pack up an entire house is barely enough time to get everything done. One of the first things I did was check the CDC website, which lists SIX inoculations either required or recommended for China! My next step was calling the county health department about getting the shots – one of which is given in two parts, 28 days apart! And they don’t offer that one. Fortunately, they referred me to Passport Health, who was able to see me within 48 hours and give me the first part of the inoculation. The staff were great and I recommend them.
Next was getting the paperwork completed, which I’m still working on. I had to get a background check, which is pretty standard for a teaching position. But since the job is overseas, I have to take it to the Missouri Secretary of State for the state seal, and then submit this to the Chinese embassy in order to obtain my work visa. Fortunately the Secretary has a local office, so I won’t have to drive all the way to Jefferson City.
This whole process is more challenging because of the time difference. The recruiter in Beijing was 13 hours ahead of St. Louis, so scheduling the interview at a time when we were both available was tricky. We ended up speaking at 7am local time, 8 pm Beijing time. Now I’m working with someone at the high school, so the time difference is only 12 hours. This has made communication mostly asynchronous and slow. And a bit frustrating.
In the meantime, I’m still teaching locally, and have begun doing triage: deciding what to get rid of, what to keep and store, and what to take with me.
Oh, and learning Chinese!