WorldTeach China Volunteer Katie contemplates a big decision she has ahead.
“Jump or stay in the boat.”
I wanted to wake-up early today to go sit in the front yard and watch the sunrise and work on this next piece now that I have free time and my classes are over for the semester.
That did not come even close to happening.
I spent a good half of the day chilling with this bizarre chicken head pillow that class 8 gave me for New Years that I love.
I wasn’t sure what to do for this month’s post. So many things happened it felt like a big “whirlwind” of teaching and Netflixing in bed day in and day out. I’m not complaining though. I love my sleepy little town of Qingzhuhu. It can definitely get lonely and because it’s a town basically built just for the middle school there isn’t really anything to do here other than walk and look at fields and eat, sometimes all at once. But I like doing those things so, the “Hu” and I, as only I call it (and certainly never out loud) get along pretty well.
Having completed half a year, I am now faced with the big decision all of us volunteers are struggling with right now. Do I stay or do I go?
I don’t know the motivations of all the other WorldTeachers but I know for at least a few of us, we are afraid of falling back into the routine of American living. Going home at the end of this year would be satisfying in many ways. I could spend time with my family that I have been sorely missing. I could go to Publix and hit up some delicious pub-subs. I could go back to visit my college town of Gainesville, get some Big Lou’s and head to Lake Wauberg. I could see all of my friends and get caught up on their lives – reconnect with those I’ve missed the most.
But then what? The excitement of being back will fade away and then I will be back in America stuck, looking for a job, unsure of where to go or what my next move should be and missing my friends back in China and my other life.
I don’t want my time in China to be a gap year or just a blip on the radar of my life. My time here has been so meaningful to me as well as the friendships I’ve made with the teachers at my school and the bonds I’ve formed with my students. I want to know how they all do during their Junior 2 year and calm them down when they are stressed about their Zhong Kao’s. I want to keep seeing Helen and talking to her about her teaching philosophies and her son and how big he’s getting. I don’t want all of these people to just become stories.
Then again, there is the question of my future career back home. For women, at least in my experience, there is a shorter window of opportunity. I want to live abroad; I want to continue my education. I want to work for my dream job and travel, giving myself to the causes I most value.
And then again I also want a family. I want to love someone and to eventually have children. How do all these things fit together? Can they? Or will sacrifices need to be made more than they already have?
That’s the big question. I know if I stayed in China that I would love my job. I know that I would get to spend my days helping students learn and learning myself. I would have more chances to travel and gain work experience. I also know that if I stayed that’s just one more year that I am keeping myself away from the lives of the people I love back home. More weddings missed, more big days I can’t celebrate, more crises I can’t help with and more time putting off the adult world.
I’m getting ready in the next 3 days to get on a train to Hong Kong with my friend Jess as we make our way across SE Asia and China for a whole month. This is a great way to put off big decisions and to experience more of the world. Were heading to Bangkok, Thailand to Siem Reap, Cambodia to Phenom Penh, Cambodia.
But, once I return I know the large and looming question of “What are you going to do?” is going to be waiting for me when I walk in the door. It’s already nudging me now.
Anytime someone back home has a big decision to make that is driving them crazy, I tell them to just pull the trigger. Make a move and the anxiety will go away and then you can firmly resolve to do whatever it is you’ve decided.
It’s always worked for me in the past but I find myself incapable of doing it now. I lie in my bed, listening to Spotify, staring at the ceiling – getting irritated with my indecisiveness and the commercials for State Farm.
There is nothing to report as of yet.
Once we all come back from our vacations, WorldTeach will be hosting Mid-Service, a time for us to reflect on our classes, and to think about the next big step. I am putting off all decision making until this time because let’s be real it’s a lot easier to just ignore it and because I want to hear what former WTers have to say. It will help me to make a more informed decision.
I know this tough choice is just on the horizon but I haven’t gotten there yet, so I intend to enjoy the ride until I do.
-Katie Scott, WorldTeach China 2014-2015
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