The subject that I am most questioned about is my life in China. How did I get to teach in China?
It is a question I find easy to answer. In 2007 I started doing a course on teaching English to speakers of other languages. TESOL it was called. I started in December and completed the in-class component. It was my plan to complete it the following year, with a vague idea to teach Medical English in Vietnam. I had made contact with a college in the Halong Bay area. I had been a registered nurse, so though the mix was a good one for me.
Then there was Christmas and the New Year and I spent little time thinking about it. Midst January I had a phone call from a friend telling me of a vacancy in China. I was not interested but was encouraged to go to the interview as part of my research about such teaching opportunities. I went, reluctantly, and came home with a contract to go to China. And I had to go very soon after.
And so it was that I was to set off to China on February 21st, 2008. I had endeavoured to find out more about the place where I was going to live for the next six months, but the Internet back then was a bit sparse with the information. I did make contact with someone who had been there, but what I was told didn’t make a lot of sense to me.
I was going to the city of Shaoxing, around 200 kms south of Shanghai. A day or so before I was due to leave I attended a “culture” session, which was a bit weird, and now I know was hardly of any assistance to me. But I met two men there – one a little older than me and one a little younger, and we were all to go to the same place.
I met up with them again around midnight on the night/early morning that we flew out from Brisbane to Singapore and then on to Shanghai. As it turns out we became good friends for our time in China.
And the rest, as they say, is history. I survived the first semester, and returned the next semester, and then in 2010 I was back again. I fell in love with China.
There are lots of things NOT to like about China – like the butcher shop in the image above. No refrigeration, and open to the street. Still, there’s a lot to like too, and I had a wonderful time there and have been back four or five times since.