For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Alyssa and this blog is about my adventure moving to, living in, and experiencing China and Chinese culture.
In August 2013, I moved to China with my boyfriend/partner, Duncan, to teach English for one year.
Somethings about me:
I am a little shorter than 5’2 and I have long blonde hair – which makes me stand out to some degree everywhere I go, but will definitely contribute to my being a spectacle in China. I have danced since I was three years old and received classical ballet technique training meant to prepare me for a career as a professional ballerina/dancer. In high school I decided I was going to attend University instead, and after graduation, uprooted myself from Texas and established a new life in Asheville, North Carolina. Though I did continue dancing with a small local company in Asheville, I focused primarily on earning degrees in psychology and sociology, which became official in May 2013 when I graduated from UNC Asheville.
Plans for my life have almost always included dancing and higher education, but Chinese culture and history was never an interest to me before I met Duncan. Graduating from college, though, poses its own unique conundrums such as being free and without a plan for the first time in life, no longer being in that wonderful limbo stage between teenagerdom and adulthood, and suddenly realizing that your safety net protecting you from completely crashing after making stupid decisions is deteriorating faster than you’d like to accept. With these challenges in mind, among many others, Duncan and I decided, after a year of thought, introspection, questioning, and pondering, that moving to China to teach English is the best option available for our current situation in life.
Though I have developed a definite interest in learning about and experiencing Chinese culture, Duncan’s passion and previous experiences in China have determined this as a post-graduation option. Without him I would not have learned enough about China to become interested in personally experiencing it nor would I be confident enough or adequately able to make this move and embark on this adventure.
But now, I am absolutely thrilled that we have committed to teaching English and I am eagerly awaiting news of our placement. This Chinese adventure will provide me, and us, with so many opportunities for personal growth, critical examination of taken-for-granted beliefs about the way the world “should” and does work, and once-in-a-life time unique experiences that will vary on the range from terrifying to bewildering to absolutely wonderful. I am excited to learn Chinese, experience a new culture, challenge myself, learn from all experiences good and bad, meet new people, and see the world from a completely different perspective. Pushing myself out of my comfort zone will afford me the opportunity to grow and will steer me towards a goal of mine – to be able to truly call myself a “global citizen” (Martha Nussbaum).
This blog has several intentions:
I want to be able to keep in touch with my friends and family and take them with me on my journey across the globe. I will use this blog as an aide in processing my experiences in China. Hopefully, I will be able to critically examine my reactions to my new world and settings and use this blog as a way to share my thoughts with others unable or not wanting to having a similar adventure personally. I will aim to post once a day, though of course that will be determined by my internet access and general availability.While in China I will be deliberately trying to experience as much as I possibly can and though I am eager to share through this blog, I do not want to become a slave to the blog.
Some of my personal goals while in China include:
Live in the present
Push myself out of my comfort zone to encourage personal growth
Try to have as uniquely Chinese an experience as I can
Learn Chinese (Mandarin)
Become competent in my teaching abilities
Share my unique experiences as an American living in China
Curb my persistent worrying
Stop reacting emotionally and irrationally to things I cannot control and things of the past
I hope you enjoy my musings and rants as I transition into and experience this next chapter in my life. I am extremely grateful that this is even an option and I hope to take full advantage of it.