Jun 15, 2010

this summer and beyond...

Hello, blog. I feel like you deserve a life update. I haven't totally laid out the plans of my near future for my friends, and I feel like it should be done. Because friends should know what's up, right? Right.

Well, my mom and sister are arriving in Shanghai in 2 DAYS! wooooooo. We are going to be spending time in Hangzhou, taking a train to Beijing, takng a train back to Shanghai, visiting the World Expo, then flying home together at the end of June.

I will be in Florida for a little less than 3 weeks, then will be flying to Korea.

In Korea I will be working for the Korean Educational Broadcasting Agency. I have a position as a summer camp counselor/programmer/english teacher for a month.

I am so stoked about this!

It is 10 hour days for a month with no day off - but in the end they hand me a bunch of USD, and unfortunately, that is the driving force of why I am there. You see - I agreed to be in/attend/love on a dear friend's wedding at the end of September. The date is right after I begin school and I have zero money to make that kind of flight/financial contribution now, so I set to trying to find a job for the summer.

Jobs in China pay little to nothing. (Hence why I can't afford the ticket in the first place). It's ridiculous. But after many hours of pra.yer and google searches, I found this job on Dave's ESL Cafe (eslcafe.com). It combines many of the things I love: summer camp, teaching, travel, and Korea. The lady who runs the camp has been incredibly efficient and I am so excited to have this chance to live in Korea. I spent a week there last year and LOVED it. Sometimes I contemplate moving there - I look at the ceiling and ask G0d why I have to stay here, when Korea is SO CLOSE and SO AWESOME. ha.

Anyways, after the camp I will return to Chi.na on a student visa and move into a dorm room at Zhejiang University. As previously posted, I will be spending 4 years there working on a PhD in Comparative Education - taught with Chin.ese as the main language. My first year will be only Chin.ese class, with other "foreigners" from all over the world. After one year, I am expected to be fluent in reading and speaking and will then enroll in my major courses with Chin.ese classmates, textbooks, and lectures.

I'd be lying if I told you that everytime I thought about it I didn't want to crap my pants.

4 more years?

Chin.ese textbooks?

How the heck did this become my life?

But I'm entering this on faith, content in knowing that my time here is not over. I was offered a full scholarship by the government to study teaching methodology of the East and West in hopes of aiding higher education reform in Chi.na. This excites me. The topic and eventual outcome of this study makes me get goosebumps with anticipation. And at the end of every month they will cut me a check, just for being there. I am getting paid to get a PhD and learn a language I love. How can I walk away?

It is also exciting that Zhejiang University is the #3 school in Chi.na.

So that is what I'm doing. Going to rock out in Korea with a bunch of little presh Korean kids, then signing my life away for 4 more years here. That means I will ultimately leave Chi.na when I am 27 (almost 28) years old. That's in a long time. But that's also really young to have spent 6 years (ahh) in a foreign country and have a PhD.

I just feel like walking away from this opportunity would be like denying a huge gift. I'll never know what it's like unless I try. So I left my job, am packing up my apartment, and leaving all my crap at a friend's house in anticipation of becoming a student again.

It's like, you have to give G0d the chance to surprise you, ya know? If you don't do things because it's not the way you would have written your life, then you'll never know the blessings that could be? Right? Little did I know in August 2008, when I boarded that plane alone, destined for Hangzhou- a place I only knew about from Wikitravel, that I would live here this long and invest most of my 20's in this place. I'm glad I didn't know. I might not have gotten on the plane. haha.

So that's that. My family arrives in 2 days. I can hardly stand myself. I'm jumping out of my skin excited.


Tell me about you. I want to know.

Walk slow. xoxo.


agapelife said...

28 is SO young to already have all this experience in another country ANY be Jessica Griner PhD (or Dr. Jessica Griner!) I'm a wee bit jealous as I have no clue as to when I'll finally get those letters behind my name. Rock out girl, rock out.

Anonymous said...

My second anniversary is in a week. Adam is almost 6 months old. A couple weeks ago I was in Tampa doing flowers for a wedding. I'm sewing an evening gown for Tom's brother's wedding and I've started working out (which really needed to be done). San Diego is pretty good, sunny and lots of outdoors things to do. We go to the zoo a lot. Maybe we'll end up in Europe for his next duty station!

That's what's going on with me.

Jessica said...

I'm so excited that your mum finally gets to come and visit you, what a blessing (for both of you!) Enjoy!