I'm here to write about…Nothing in particular. I've just let my journal collect so much dust, as I am wont to do every few months. But it's always nice to know in the back of my mind that it is still here.

Just like me. Still in China. Still doing the traveling English teacher thing, for a second year in a row. I'm happy for the most part. It's great money, high energy and China is never boring. After Jinan grew to be a bit sour in my mouth, I decided to take a break and see first my family in Delaware, and then I moved onto New Zealand. This first year in China has been…Educational. I've learned far more than I ever expected and in some ways I did not see, either.

Being so very black and so very tall in a nearly homogenous landscape proved…Is proving…Far more difficult than I ever imagined. It…Frankly, it broke me in the end. It was just too much…Always being in the center of attention…Always being talked about…Always being smiled and laughed at for existing. It's just a bizarre situation that you really can't understand until you A.) become a celebrity or B.) a traveler in Asia. If you are reading this, then you know me…And you know I really don't thrive in the limelight. I'm pretty low-key. And although in the long run, I'm glad I've had such an experience, nothing has ever challenged me like this.

My mind's back in the right place…Mostly. I was depressed for a bit back in late August, after I scared away all my friends in Jinan, heh. I just began to second-guess everything I did and could not interact with people unself-consciously, as it was just too much A.) being a teacher on display, and B.) being in China on display. Everything from eye contact to language became difficult because I felt I had to control my actions to feel at ease and not put on a show, and naturally, the harder you try to be at ease, the less you appear. It was rough times.

So I fled to New Zealand for a couple of months to screw my head back on straight. It was…Profound. I rediscovered my meditative streak and it was amazing just how much of a change it was after those two and a half months. I cried…A few times. In fact, I've come to tears quite a few times this year, as I air out the moldy chest of things that make me depressed and get some sun in those dark places. Tears of healing. Tears of peace and joy.

…I've begun to re-explore the question of God in my life…Anyone who knows me since…Buffalo, NY will know just how touchy a subject that is. It's a budding philosophy, though, so I don't want to ruin it with senseless mumblings…Even though this is definitely the place for senseless mumblings. Not until I have something more concrete.

Looking at new jobs already, haha. I only just arrived in Nanjing two months ago, but I managed to choose the most difficult school in the Chinese ESL world to teach at. Disney English is run by THE Walt Disney Company, not a Chinese firm. Chinese firms are slack. Beard, jeans and tats? Cool; the parents will love how foreign you look! Disney English? Um…Your facial hair must be a moustache that fits within the parameters of this mostache gauge every center equips, and make sure you bring your student assessment files to our biweekly center meeting, and don't forget to be in uniform or it's a writeup. I fell into the corporate trap.

FUCK. I SO DO NOT DO CORPORATE. I was excited and curious for awhile, but that's just about tapped out and I'm looking for a new school, haha. At the six month point, I can quit without owing them all of the money they sank into getting us here, I've heard, so after that…It will probably be either a new school here in Nanjing, or I might try a new city. Guangzhou has some seriously attractive kindergarten options. 10-15 hours of work a week, for 8-10,000 RMB, plus an apartment. I work 40+ hours a week here for 10,500 RMB  and a monthly housing stipend of 3,300 (only 16ish teaching hours but 25 painful, painful office hours and the absurdly high standards are crushing my love for ESL) For a moderate paycut of 3,800 rmb I can have FAR less stress and FAR more free time in my life.

We'll see!.

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