In my Head: I’ve Been Shanghaied

posted in: Asia, China, In My Head, Life, Travel | 2

It is with great pleasure and excitement that I announce my plans to move back to China at the end of August to start a new teaching contract in Shanghai. I know, those of you who know me and who’ve talked to me months ago are probably pretty shocked. I thought you said you would never come back to China?!?! In all fairness, I am pretty shocked too. I never thought I would want to come back here, either.

However, after months of my TEFL Certificate program and training, I had the opportunity to interview for several teaching positions in countries such as Japan, Korea, Hong Kong, and Mainland China. Funnily enough, Mainland China wasn’t even on my list, as I swore I would not do another year here. However, after interviewing with a job recruiter who works for schools primarily in Korea and one school in Shanghai, she convinced me to interview for the one in Shanghai. She then told me that if I still wasn’t interested, she would help connect me to the other schools in Korea. So, I relented and interviewed.

In the weeks that followed, I got to speak with teachers at the school, the directors, and the recruiter to answer any questions I had. I was so pleasantly surprised by how transparent the company seemed (which is pretty rare for China.) After these conversations, I found myself entertaining thoughts of living in Shanghai and the opportunities it would provide. I was given a week to think about it and give my final decision. Around that same time, I was also offered a job in Japan and an interview in Korea, which likely would have resulted in a job offer, as well. However, after careful thought, I decided to accept the job in Shanghai. On my recent trip, I had the opportunity to go the language institute and check it out in person and meet the staff, which further solidified my feelings that this was the right choice.

I think moving to Shanghai is a good decision for me for several reasons. Firstly, after living here in China for one year already, I am used to the culture and the idiosyncracies really don’t bother me much anymore. I know it will be easier adjusting to life in Shanghai with the basis I already have, than it would be to uproot myself again. Trying to adjust and conform to a completely different culture and country again just didn’t appeal to me, not that I wouldn’t be up for it at some point in the future. I feel like for now, there are so many places I haven’t been to in China that I am not ready to fully say goodbye yet. This is where I want to be.

Secondly, Shanghai is huge and has a large and diverse expat population, as well as a lot of local culture to learn about and experience. In the town I live in now, there’s really nothing more than a supermarket and a few pop-up Chinese restaurants. When I do go to the city on the weekends, most of the social scenes consist of bars and night clubs, which are really not my top choice of entertainment in most circumstances.

However, I have grown enough over the last year to not be so naive as to think it will necessarily always be perfect. I am sure there will still be plenty of things that will be bothersome or challenging. For one, this will be the biggest city I have ever lived in, which will come with its own unique set of challenges. There will certainly be moments of frustration, but I know I can handle whatever life throws at me in the city. I’m looking forward to a new and hopefully more exciting place to plant myself for the next year.

For now, I still have another week before I come back to the States for the summer. At this time, I’ll be standing with one of my best friends as she marries the love of her life, visiting my family, and gearing up for this next adventure. Wish me luck as I get ready to enter this new phase in my life and in my travels!

2 Responses

  1. Mom

    Congratulations on the new position Alayna! I think you will like being in a bigger city. At least you won’t have to worry about how you’ll get to the bank or if someone else is going into town. You’ll have to let me know what you decide on as far as housing is concerned. We can talk about it over those blueberry pancakes you promised me when you get home. 😉 Love you!

  2. Tanuj Gyan

    Good Article. I have heard from a lot of people that things happen for a reason (I don’t believe in it though) and Universe will always give you what is best for you! Lord always has plans for us and his plans are better than ours 🙂