Lost in China: 8 Things I’ve Been Doing

Been busy lately, so I thought I’d share with you lovely people what I’ve been doing lately! Here’s a quick list of what I’ve been doing.

Don Quijote in China. China's having an identity crisis too.
Don Quijote in China. China’s having an identity crisis too.


Been teaching. My butt off.

This semester is proving to be a little bit more difficult than last. I’m definitely having a harder time finding a good routine– a nice balance between work, play, and maintaining tip top health. I’ll figure it out, but it’s a bit of a struggle at the moment. I have about 25 classes a week spread out all over the city. It’s fun, but definitely exhausting which is exactly why I need to make sure to put my health and fitness in the number one priority slot so that I do have energy to teach two hundred kids in four hours, and then go to a meeting, and then finish an evening of five classes at the franchise I work at.

That last sentence makes me want a cup of coffee.


Been deciding things.

Or at least trying to decide on things. Like most expats, I’m really indecisive. I generally make big life decisions on an impulse, and right now I’m deciding if I want to stay in Wuhan for another year or travel on to another part of China. Lately the beach has been calling my name, so I’ve been looking into cities like Qingdao, Dalian, and Xiamen. We’ll see where I end up, but the gypsy spirit inside me is pulling me away from Wuhan. Might need a change of scenery. Can’t decide. Opinions on great cities in China are welcome.


Been hosting parents meetings with awkward questions and unsolicited commentaries on my life. 

Some of my favorites were:

“Do you have a boyfriend? Would you like me to arrange one for you?”

“Do you like Chinese men?”

“How long to you plan to stay at Wuhan with Aston English?”

“Can you tell us which of our children are the best?”

“We like you because we think you are beautiful.”

“You don’t look American. You’re only a little fat.”

Nothing like being put on the spot in front of my students.


Been practicing my Chinese.

I can now talk to a taxi driver for a whole 20 minutes before we both give up. Not bad, right?


Been editing a book for a friend of a friend.

There’s never a lack of jobs available here for English speakers in China. One of my Chinese friends is having me edit a book for a fellow in Beijing. It’s a dry read, and boring work, but a pretty easy $500!


Been planning a trip to Chengdu.

One of the many great perks of teaching in China are the national holidays! I’ve got a whole week off next week, and a few of my buddies are headed to see some pandas and mountains. The train ride is 17 hours on “hard seats” and the tickets were 180rmb, about $30, and the hostel we are staying in is 40rmb a night. Gotta love the price of travel here. Looking forward to a break from Wuhan and the opportunity to explore another major Chinese city. Might help me with making some decisions about my future in or out of China.

Hiking hills and feeling closer to home.
Hiking hills and feeling closer to home.


Been climbing hills in Wuhan.

One of the things I love about Wuhan is how accessible nature is. On Monday I went on a hike through Gui Shan in Hanyang district with one of my local friends, and it was a little like being back in good old Forest Park in Peoria, Illinois.

Or maybe more like those days of cross country practice in Black Partridge Park, because about fifteen minutes into our pleasant walk, John turned to me and said, “Okay, now let’s race to the top.” And then he took off running.

I lost, but the views from the top of the hill were well worth the wheezes along the way.


Been a little lost.

Somedays, it’s hard to know what to do. There’s a huge amount of freedom that moving to China gives an expat, and that can be overwhelming. Somedays, I am so paralyzed by the possibilities of what can be done here, that I end up doing nothing because I don’t want to choose the wrong path.

I’m like a kid in a candy shop right now. Everything looks amazing, and there are too many options to handle! Should I go with the delicious looking chocolates that could have some kind of strange nougat inside, or do I go for the classic mint melt-aways, or do I indulge in some fudge— oh! oh! But those jawbreakers look fantastic too.

I’m just a fat kid who can’t decide.

Should I travel on to another country like Costa Rica or Australia or the Czech Republic? Or should I continue on in my journey here in China? How does one decide?

I’m the fat kid who wants to pick them all.

I want to speak Mandarin well enough to get myself into good situations and out of bad ones. I want to work at a hostel in Australia. I want to be a bar wench in Ireland. I want to pick fruit in New Zealand. I want to kayak in Costa Rica, and I want to find work on a boat that takes me on adventures beyond the adventures that I can think up of.

So what next? How do I chose?

I don’t know.

But I’d rather be the fat kid who picked them all instead of the thin bastard who didn’t pick anything because they couldn’t decide.

When I was lost before, I chose China. Now I’ve got to see if I’m going to choose China again!


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