Hello my fellow blog lovers and supporters – I’m back bitches!
Happy New Year, and boy what a year it is going to be!
As many of you already know I have embarked on a journey to the Far East, Beijing China to be exact, for a year long adventure in this new land, with new cultures, new traditions and a new job – I am teaching English as a Second Language to 3 – 12 yr old children in the Fengtai District of Beijing.
You maybe wondering, ‘Dina, why in the hell would you choose to leave the safety, security and comfort of your home, family and friends, traipse off to a foreign country where you don’t even speak the language for over a year long stay – why?’
Well, allow me to explain…
Did I ever think that at the ripe old age of 45 yrs old, I would pack my bags, and my entire life actually and move half way around the world to start over in a new job and a new life? Fuck no!
But, what I have learned these over these last 45 trips around the sun, is that sometimes you just gotta ‘FUCK IT’ and go after those opportunities that present themselves. You may not understand why they are appearing to you, but you need to trust in the process and not ask why, but instead just have faith and take that big ass leap outside of your comfort zone and just trust that your wings will appear.
So out of an unorthodox situation – My ex boyfriend (the one I had mentioned in an earlier blog) presented me with this opportunity to come teach here in Beijing. YES, you read that right, my ex offered me a job and I took it. Did I mention that he is technically my boss? Yeah that’s a whole other blog on its own for another day. 😛
Since my contract was ending with President’s Choice Financial in Toronto – I thought ‘You know what, I don’t have any other job prospects on the horizon and I have felt like I have been in a rut the past while – Why not shake things up a bit and just go for it. And I did!
Beginning the process back in October of 2017, I begin the tedious and arduous task of applying for my work visa in China, which seriously may just be a blog all on its own – No seriously its a freaking process yo!
Once I went through the process of getting my criminal record check, copy of my Bachelors Degree, TESOL (Teaching English Second Language) certificate and my CV all copied, notarized and authenticated by both Canada and the Chinese Consulate – YES by both! I was finally able to apply for my Foreign Expert Certificate and my actual Visa. 3 trips to the China Visa Office in Toronto and like 2 days before I was scheduled to fly to Beijing I finally had my visa in my hot little hands! PHEW!
I had my last hurrah with my lovely family and friends, who all understand why I was leaving, but were also very sad to see me go. Magically, I was able to figure out how to pack my entire life into 3 suitcases and 1 carry on – Real life example of human Tetris folks!
The morning came for me to leave and Murphy’s freaking law, we get a freak snowstorm (which by the looks of the winter you have all had, that was just a foreshadow of what was to come for you all – Sorry about that :P) My car service apparently came to our door twice to come and pick me up, but I wasn’t able to hear them. Being 2 hours early for a 4:30am pick up will tend to do that 😛 Needless to say I was sleeping, when they arrived the first 2 times. 😛
Thankfully I called and got another driver to circle around so that I could begin my relocation to Beijing. Did I mention that the roads were covered in snow and ice, my driver was driving like a maniac and I literally white knuckled it all the way to the airport in Toronto. Yeah that happened. Little did I know, that this was my foreshadow for what was to come driving in Beijing – More on that to come 😛
Thankfully, got there in one piece and proceeded to show my hulking muscles by being the only one that could adequately lift my large suitcases – Me strong like bull!
Checked in and waited for my flight to be called. Due to the weather, we were a few minutes late to take off. Those few minutes turned into a couple of hours 😦 We were waiting for other flight crew to arrive so they could fly to Calgary with us – Come on Westjet! Because of this, I missed my connecting flight to Beijing. Gotta say, that made me lose some points with you.
However, when we finally took off after having to de-ice the plane TWICE, they had all of my hotel and new flight arrangements all figured out by the time I landed. OK, you won those and few more points back Westjet!
I got an night out in Calgary folks – the hotel was lovely, clean, modern and brand new. The restaurant downstairs was exquisite. The food and service was exceptional. You know the saying ‘everything happens for a reason’? Well, I think me missing my connecting flight to Beijing allowed me to de-stress, have a wonderful meal and get a good night’s sleep before I continued my journey to first my ole stomping grounds of Vancouver and then off to China the following day.
My exquisite meal in Calgary!
After landing in Vancouver and treating myself to a Eggnog Latte (SO GOOD), I quickly boarded my flight and arrived in Beijing 13 hrs later.
Navigating the Beijing airport is a little bit confusing, but not impossible as most things are written in English and Chinese or you can easily find an attendant that can speak some English to assist you. Here you go through customs for the FIRST time, without your luggage. Next you take a subway transit like system to go and retrieve your luggage. Side Note: These are not uncommon overseas as I had to do just the same when I flew into Heathrow Airport 5 years ago so I wasn’t unfamiliar with the experience. Once you pick up your luggage you then must go through another security check point WITH your luggage. Finally, if you then decide you would like to take the attached subway system or public transit to reach your destination, you then go through ANOTHER security check point as well. Yes you get padded down and wanded 3 times before you leave the airport. Come to think of it, I had a date like that once 😛
They LOVE their bikes here!
Literally fell within the first few days of arriving! Gotta watch for random pieces of steel sticking up from the sidewalk here 😦
Small but deadly these are!
Very different to what we are used to here in Canada, but then again I ain’t in Kansas anymore peeps! My recruiter Nina met me, and we embarked on my 1.5 hrs drive in a taxi to my new home in Fengtai. What is my home like? Well, let’s save that for another blog 🙂
Stay tuned, lots more to come!
Thank you all once again for coming along on this crazy blog writing journey with me and supporting me every time you take the time out of your busy schedule to read my ramblings. That never goes unnoticed or unappreciated! But, before we go let me ask you this – Have you ever just trusted your instincts and just jumped right out of your comfort zone and into a brand new life and experience not knowing how you will navigate it but, just knew you would figure it out along the way?
Can not wait to hear your experiences!
Till next time,
I send you all love & light.