It’s about time I did a bit of a life update, following the explosion of Covid-19 across the globe: I have come home. Something that I did not want to write anytime soon, only 9 weeks into what was supposed to be the adventure of a lifetime.
How do I feel about this? Disappointed. Sad. Anxious. Hopeful. Forcing myself to be positive and pro-active.
I made the decision about two weeks ago, and I came home 6 days ago. It was not a decision based on any fear of catching the Coronavirus; rather, I became frustrated with the impact the virus was having on my daily life. After more than two months of living in China I had only set foot into a classroom twice, for observations. If everything had gone smoothly, I would have completed my training, assessments, team teaching, and begun teaching independently by that point. But nothing was happening and my school was (understandably, to a certain extent) more focused on getting the other teachers set up with online teaching, with little to no schedule for me whatsoever.
While I tried to keep myself busy with extra training and online observations, I felt that watching hours upon hours of other people teaching the same class over and over again was not a productive way to spend my time. I was constantly asking for more training, and even reached a point just before I left where I asked to just be thrown in at the deep end and start teaching classes online without further observations and assessments. I just wanted to DO something.
However, this was refused and I kept being told that it would be ‘next week’ that I would start teaching. This went on for about 3 weeks, until I was told that it actually would be unlikely I would teach for at least another month. Not only was this incredibly frustrating, but it was also having a detrimental effect on my mental health. I know I was in a privileged position, living abroad and being paid a full wage, but I went to China to teach and explore the country, which I was totally unable to do, potentially for months. I was lonely, bored, isolated, and felt so helpless and useless.
After many tearful phone calls with my parents and my boss, I came to the conclusion that it was not healthy for me to stay in China with no guarantee of work for the foreseeable future. I would rather be at home with my loved ones, creating new ideas and working online. Unfortunately, my flight home was double the price it would normally be and took over 30 hours from door to door. Double unfortunately, I had to come home without receiving my TEFL certificate from the company (which I had completed and passed 6 months ago), so my plan for the next few weeks is to self-isolate and start from scratch. Although this is pretty heartbreaking as I have lost time and money, I am trying to think of it as a positive experience.
It has shown me that I am capable of living and working abroad, of overcoming language barriers and huge cultural differences, and given me the clarity I needed with regards to my career ambitions and future plans.
2020 may have been the year I was supposed to work and save and travel the world, but Covid-19 has other ideas. But it’ll take more than a fancy flu to stop me from achieving my goals!* Here’s to hoping this is all dealt with quickly and efficiently. I want to emphasise that I am being responsible and self isolating despite having no symptoms of the illness. It is so important that we not only look after ourselves, but everyone around us who may be vulnerable. Keep washing your hands, don’t touch your face, and practice social distancing. Stay safe, everyone!
*I know it’s more than a fancy flu and I’m taking it seriously, just trying to stay positive so don’t hate