I’ve entered the rat race. After 3 years of self-employment, I get up at 6.30(ish), commute for an hour, work 9-5, sign out, go home and receive my healthy regular, stable income at the end of the month. My freelancing past-self is screaming at me, cringing at all the times I said I’d never give it up. But I did and, for the most part, I have no regrets.
Three months ago I was offered a job, out of the blue, to work as a kindergarten English teacher in Hong Kong. Two weeks later, after packing up a house, a cat and a career, I stepped off a plane at Hong Kong airport into a blur of bright lights, skyscrapers, dog buggies, egg tarts and fermented beancurd.
To say I went into the move blindly is an understatement. Teaching was at the top of my ‘I will never ever do this in my life’ list, right next to sky diving and chewing my own foot off. Hong Kong meant very little to me either, I had to look it up on a map (sorry Mr High!) Oh and toddlers… no thanks. If you passed me a child, I’d hold it like a football. Ask me to entertain one and the best I could do is share my whiskey and talk about the weather. All in all, I had no idea what the hell I was doing but I’d signed a contract to say I’d do it until July. Luckily my boyfriend Mark had been offered the same crazy whirlwind so at least there were two of us to try and figure it out.
Less than 48 hours after landing in Hong Kong, I was standing bleary-eyed in one of the school offices while everyone rushed around me in a language I couldn’t understand, asking me questions I couldn’t answer. My ‘training’ consisted of watching another teacher for an hour before I was pushed in front of the class as ‘Miss Becky’ and told to go for it. Me. Go for it. Someone who has spent the last 3 years working from home, barely getting out of her pyjamas let alone interacting with other humans, especially of the child variety. I looked around the room at twenty little faces eagerly awaiting my next move and thought about running. I’d like to say that I didn’t run because of my brave decision to prove to myself and the world that I could do this but it was mostly because I was so terrified I’d forgotten how to use my limbs.
With some jazz hands and a lot of singing I survived it and as the term winds down for Christmas, I’ve finally had some time to process the biggest change in my life and attempt to put it into words.