Pretty soon it’s going to be time to decide if I’m going to stay in Shanghai for a fourth year. I never even thought that this would be an option (originally figured I’d live abroad for just one year but really came to enjoy it!), but I’ve been considering all of my options as I decide what I want my next chapter to be. Part of me is wondering if I should stay abroad, or if I should move to another country to teach, or if it’s time to head back to America. I decided the best way to approach this would be with a gold old fashion pro/cons list. Here’s where I am right now.
And one that I enjoy. Although I have been feeling really burnt out lately, nothing can beat my students. Their parents truly support their education and see me as an ally and confidante. I can’t even begin to explain to you the joy that my students bring to me.
I make enough money to live comfortably. Let me just say it– more comfortably I’d be able to live in other places. I can afford manicures/massages (they’re cheap here!) as well as paying for grad school. I’m wondering if I should stay here another year to save more money.
I do! I really do. Although sometimes the traffic gets me down, overall I love living in such a vibrant and upbeat city. There’s so much to do here. I’m never bored and it’s such an international city– I can get a lot of Western goodies here that I probably couldn’t get if I lived in other parts of the country.
The pollution is draining, the city is so fast paced I sometimes feel like I barely get a second to breathe, and the worst part is– I’ve gained weight living abroad. It’s not the end of the world, but it’s not easy to get healthy western food in China. I’m sick of feeling like the biggest girl in the room. I’m not skinny but I don’t think I’m fat– however, it’s hard to find clothes that fit and just last week I had students tell me I’m fat. Sigh. I know it’s lame, but it does get a girl down!
Being far away from my family is not enjoyable, either.
It just is! People don’t tend to stay in Shanghai for a long time which makes dating hard. Friends come and go so quickly and it can feel overwhelming. Honestly, living in Shanghai can feel super isolating and I struggle with loneliness.
Obviously I don’t feel super comfortable talking about my job on my very public blog, but as much as I love my school, I wish we had a few more resources that are usually available at American schools (for example, a guidance counselor, better technology, etc.)
If you were me, what would you do?!