Moving to Zhengzhou, China

CBD in Zhengzhou

Three weeks ago, I e-mailed off an application. Last Wednesday, I had an interview over skype, and the following day, Thursday, I was hired. Just like that a new door opened. A door that leads to the East farther than I’ve ever gone. I’m nervous and excited for the change, for the possibilities, and the challenges, and of course the potential for new stories. In August, with just a few bags I will walk through this door that I never saw until a month ago, and once I’m over the threshold, I’ll be working as a literature teacher and leading drama classes in Zhengzhou, China.

It’s almost June, and my panic scale has just reached “nervousness” and the early stages of “what if-mania”. I have three months left in the U.S. before I start my new, yet, temporary life in China. I could make this transition some kind of allegory I suppose, but instead i’ll stick to my daily realities.

I bought my ticket this morning. I’ve never been so hesitant to buy a plane-ticket, ever. My dilemma was that I didn’t really know what day to fly or when to arrive. My contract begins on the 25th of August, and two days ago I found out that school starts on the 1st of September. So I took the chance and bought it today. I chose to fly one-way, for a couple of reasons, even though this part of the decision was challenging. I wasn’t sure if it would cause me visa problems if I didn’t have an actual round-trip ticket, but I’m going to be there for a year, and I can’t book out a year in advance, so I had to take the risk. Also, I might not want to come back. I may want to stay in China, or work in another country, or fly into some other part of the U.S. I don’t know what I will be doing as of August 26th 2014.

After talking with some folks that have lived or are currently living in China, I decided that the one-way was a good choice. It cost around $700.00. Some people believe that buying a round-trip is cheaper in the long run, but it isn’t. The lowest cost I found was 1400, and well that’s two one-ways so I didn’t see the deal, especially since I would have had to change my return flight anyway, and that would come with an extra fee.


Another worry I had was what I would do once I got to Zhengzhou. I hadn’t heard from anyone from my work, and I will fly in late. I was nervous that my arrival time might make it difficult for someone to meet me. It was like they must have felt my anxiety across the ocean because my supervisor contacted me today, and let me know they would be waiting for me to take me to my apartment. Take me to my apartment! I have not lived alone for ten years. I’m not talking sharing a home with a partner. I’m talking roommates, and mostly living in a room in their house. Roommates are fine, but to live alone… I can’t wait. I’ll arrive in Zhengzhou at 10:50 pm. I have a layover in Beijing, but I don’t think I’ll have much time to look around.

Then the visa. Oh the visa. Visa. Visa. I live in Portland, Oregon and the closest Chinese consulate to me is in San Francisco. This is okay. I want to fly out of SF anyway. I’m from California and it would give me an opportunity to see my parents, and some friends before leaving. The problem is “the when“. When do I leave from Oregon to California, and how long do I have to wait in San Francisco without a job? These are the tiny things that plague my thoughts at the moment, and surrounding these thoughts is the main worry that always presses my panic button. Money. I hate it because I never have it, and it’s all anyone wants. I just had my physical and all my lab tests that I had to do in order to get a clean bill of health (part of the visa process). This isn’t a bad thing, but with each vial of my blood I thought, “I bet my insurance does not cover this.” Always, money.

Apparently, I have the option of going through a visa service agency, so I’ll explore that. I can’t apply until I get my medical report and send it off to my employers, and then I need to wait for my letter of invitation.

Getting things together for this move is in the forefront of my mind. I haven’t followed up on any of my writing pursuits, but I currently have a great excuse (a common theme in my so called writing life). I haven’t written in ages, although I think about writing every day, but to sit, and to focus, and to write has not been happening. I need to relax and just do it because everything is going to work out, and I have three months before flying over. I’d really like to bust out a ton of query letters, and get my book out to a much wider net than 9. Nine rejections is nothing. I should have a least 120. My procrastinating brain say’s but, I need to get the China stuff sorted first.

This will be my second time living overseas. I’m leaving all of my comforts and false securities, (false securities that make me feel secure) and I’m going to China. China. To live.

Preparing to be An Accidental Vagabond

This is where I am right now. Today. May 28rd, 2013. Beyond the nervous worry, that really isn’t that bad, I’m really excited. I have no idea what my future will hold. None. There is no blue print or life travel guide for me to follow. I don’t even know where I will be next year. It’s a little strange, but that’s okay. In truth, I never really know what I will be doing the next year. I think I know, but I don’t because life is- unexpected. This time I don’t even think I know, and it’s oddly freeing.

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