About Me

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Yilan, Taiwan
I'm a Social Studies teacher and single mom from Colorado and have lived here for 9 years. Taiwan is an excellent base for us explore Asia, while living in relative (gun free) safety, while benefiting from a cheap and efficient national health care system. The people are amazing too. I have friendships that are 14 years old and I'm always making new ones.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

The Dilemma: Should I stay or should I go?

So my life has turned into a Clash song. Lately, I have been questioning my reasons for staying (or not) in Tainan. My contract is up for renewal (or not). I have a pretty sweet set up, everything I need and want, I am "settled". Only downer for Tainan as a foreign female (at my age) is my dating life is a vacuum or worse non-existent, hence the urge to go some place like Taichung with lots of expats. I have nothing against Taiwanese men, unlike all the racist stereotypes back home of Asian men being feminine and weak--its just not true. There are loads of fit, athletic, masculine Taiwanese men, just if they are my age, they are all married. The younger ones just want to play. Pretty much all the expat dudes in Tainan have Taiwanese girlfriends.

My job is good, great coworkers, owner, the kids in my class are wonderful, we really adore each other. But, I don't feel like an adult (maybe that's good haha). I mean I have been taking care of kids and cleaning poopy butts since I was 5 (I'm the eldest of 5 kids). Even working in my 20's I took care of brain injured adults and in Germany also took care of mentally and physically disabled adults. I love the kids,  but this is definitely my comfort zone. I have this "education" I have yet to use in the way I envisioned. I have a job, not a career.  I want to be at my job because its my choice, not because its all I know, or comfortable or I am too scared to try some place different or go live some place totally alien. I want to live in Tainan because its the best choice, not because I'm "stuck." I want to explore my options.

Tainan has a lot of things going for it. The weather for one, probably the best spot in all of Taiwan. I am literally 1 minute from the beach. My gym just expanded and moved closer, like a 2 minute bike ride, my work is around the corner I can walk. Z will go to a very wonderful elementary school and I wont have to pay tuition like I am now, so I might actually save something and not living from paycheck to paycheck. Her school unlike most public schools isn't so anal on the academics and is small (rare here, most elementary schools look like our highschools back home). Her school has dance, sailing (on real little sailboats), Tae Kwon Do, and robotics (they actually make a robot). Sounds pretty cool.

At the same time I am restless. I want to use my Masters degree, which I worked so hard for and am in debt for. I applied to jobs in Hsinchu, Taichung, Japan  and China and have got interested responses, requests for interviews, yadada. But...
Oh the heavy decisions!

My heart, excitement, appetite for adventure was stoked when I read about Kunming, Yunnan. I found a university job there right in Kunming city.  I have other options in Yunnan who are interested in me. The pay at this university is about the same hour wise (700+ NT an hour) and I teach 2-3 days, not so many classes, but the salary (because of less hours) is half of what I make now. I know $$ isn't a problem I could easily find private tutoring where Id make more anyway. I also have free accommodation on the campus, health care and paid vacation.

Yunnan's weather is better than Tainan. Kunming isnt called the Spring City for nothing. Winters like Tainan and summers are cooler, with access to all these wonders of nature and history. I want a base in China to explore the country w/o living in the pollution (and yes excitment) of Beijing or Shanghai. Kunming to me as I imagine it, is like Taichung, alot of expats that are close knit (there is a Walmart, Costco and Carrefore for goodness sakes) and from the web forums there are ways to get Youtube and Facebooks as well as a healthy social,night scene.

I was all giddy and am just waiting for one of my managers to write my reference letter (not as simple as it should be for no surprising reason). Then I talked to my new manager who put FEAR into me with her China horror stories.I thought I heard them all, the spitting, cheating, out right theft, of course no gmail, Facebook and Youtube (ahh the horror!). But she said I have to find Z a good school-- a safe one. I guess China is #1 for child kidnapping and human trafficking and she knows people who lost their children right in front of them at the park. Also it almost happened to her son. Her mother walking her 2 boys and someone tried to grab her 3 year old. Scary.  It almost, almost made me just flat out decide against it.

I today suddenly lost almost all my appetite for Yunnan. I have to ask myself  some hard questions. First, I will not be subjugated by my fear or the fear of others. I personally find fear to be one of my #1 debilitating weaknesses--especially when it concerns my daughter. I also know myself, that I am not the most common sense sort of person and have maybe too much sense of adventure. So I will research on public schools there, pray, find expat forums about Yunnan and ask about kids there.

Time is on my side.

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