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Jan '10

China Status Update – Jan 8th

I’ve been getting some new readers recently so I wanted to welcome all of you to the site and give a little update on my trip to China I embarked on 4 months ago.

After returning home from my 40 day trip to Thailand I knew I wanted to travel more, so after planning for a while and getting some ESL (English as a Second Language) training I left for China in hopes of teaching English and travelling the country for about a year.

Things were going smoothly for a while. I completed my in-class training and began teaching my first classes. Shortly after though I found out there was troubles with my visa. My school has a bad relationship with the visa office and due to some discrepancies and some really strange coincidences involving bad timing with a nearby police officer it was safest for me to stop teaching.

China is really cheap so after getting full pay for the first month, I decided to hold off on getting another job for a while. I’ve gotten a new visa and done some part time teaching here and there, but mostly my time has been spent on creating this website, learning Chinese, working on another website for a side business, experiencing the Chinese culture, having a Chinese girlfriend (for a while), practicing guitar, making friends, partying and working on my own personal development.

(To see details about what I’ve been doing in China check out the ‘China’ category on the experiences tab.)

After a trip to Shantou however I realized how the area of China I’m currently in feels to much like ‘new modern China’ rather than the more ancient China I wanted to experience. This helped me decide it was time to move and to also to get a real job. After looking at jobs for a while I realized working for another teaching company similar to the first wasn’t exciting me at all, my heart wasn’t into it… So instead, along with my very good Chinese friend Helina I am moving to another city called Nanning to start a private tutoring business.

Helina and I the mighty teaching duo!

Helina and I the mighty teaching duo!

It’s going to be a very small and humble undertaking at first, it will just be the two of us giving private lessons to anyone interested, but we are planning to work very hard at it and striving to find a good number of students. Helina majored in marketing so we will explore a few many strategies of getting our names out there to many students and creating a cool brand for ourselves.

Whether to undertake this business or not was a tough choice for me at first. I would be putting in far more house and likely making less money (in the beginning) than if I got an easy teaching job at another school. The thought of working for myself however is far more inspiring and interesting for me than getting a job working for another company. When I’m working for myself, I don’t mind putting in ridiculous hours, because the rewards of my efforts go to me and not to ‘the company’. I feel the private tutoring we can provide will also be much more valuable for the student which helps me believe in what I’m doing. Even if I only make enough to cover my costs of living with this approach I think I’ll enjoy it way more and learn a lot more from it.

Helina will be leaving for Nanning on Jan 12th and I’ll be coming shortly after closer to the 18th. Nanning is much more inexpensive to live in than my current home in Jiaxin so my expected rent for a month is going to only be around 500RMB $90… I’m not sure what kind of place that will get me but I’ll have to wait and see.

My focus for Nanning is going to be a little different than here so far in Shunde. Here I sleep in way too late, eat at restaurants for every meal, act a little lazy towards my Chinese learning, drink way too often, and frequently stay up to 4-5 in the morning on some kind of adventure. This kind of life has been really fun and its been a great experience but I want to adopt some more productive habits for Nanning and to live a more balanced life.

In Nanning I plan to wake up no later than 10 daily, learn how to cook Chinese food, take my Chinese studying a little more seriously by incorporating more than just the audio lessons into it, exercise regularly, take part in some Chinese past times like tai chi or kung fu, find a new girlfriend, and all the while focus on making this website and my new tutoring business a success.

My biggest challenge will be in exercising daily and cutting way back on the drinking. So far in my 4 months in China I had gone to the gym about 4 times total, and have been drinking about 4 nights every week. In China it just seems every social event revolves around drinking, and the bar was the only place to meet up to hang out. Drinking definitely is more important here in China than it is back home.

My main strategy for this is to find new Chinese friends who are interested in spending their free time on hobbies and sports rather than drinking and clubbing.

While I will be trying to live a more healthy life, this will in no way cut back on the adventure mindset I have. In fact since I’m moving to an interesting new city I’m sure you can expect to see even more interesting experiences pop up in the China category. My desire to live an inspired life with true mental freedom is still my main focus… It just won’t involve so many late drunken nights, but it will always be interesting.

I hope moving to Nanning will help me to share a slightly different side of China. If all goes to plan I’ll also be able to write about starting a business in another country, learning things like cooking and Tai Chi, and of course all the personal development lessons I learn along the way.

Stay tuned! Before I leave I’ll be taking a trip to the hot springs, and Bruce Lee’s museum!

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  • Albert | UrbanMonk.Net

    China is a fascinating place, isn't it? Depending on where you go, from ancient to modern, from boring to wild. I didn't even know there was a Bruce Lee museum, hah, post some pictures on your blog if you do go!

  • Devin Licastro

    Hey Albert!
    Fascinating feels like an understatement for what I've been experiencing in China so far! I can't wait until I see more of it, its absolutely an incredibly diverse country. Yes I recently went to the Bruce Lee museum, it was interesting, I'll post pictures soon!

  • Devin Licastro

    Hey Albert!
    Fascinating feels like an understatement for what I've been experiencing in China so far! I can't wait until I see more of it, its absolutely an incredibly diverse country. Yes I recently went to the Bruce Lee museum, it was interesting, I'll post pictures soon!