What A Year Can Hold…

Dates hold different significance to different people. Today isn’t specifically significant to me, but today I was reminded of all that a year can hold.

Last September I began thinking, really thinking, about what I would do post college graduation. You see, I took two years off college and just worked. For almost 5 years I worked in the same office. It was by far not a boring job, and it was unique to any other job I have ever had. Every day was just a little different from the day before, yet everything was the same. But, I knew I would could not be there forever. Professors usually tell college students to begin looking for post-grad jobs one year before graduating. So that is exactly what I started doing. I started trying to figure out what I would do after graduation.

September was also the beginning of a very trying time for me physically. I have had some interesting back issues that my doctors couldn’t figure out (still haven’t – but there are many things doctors don’t have answers for yet, so I can’t expect them to know everything). One of my doctors suggested putting me on a medication to see if it would ease the pain. For one month I was to take this particular medicine. Some of the side-effects included short-term memory loss, confusion, dizziness, etc. etc. etc. I experienced the first two for sure. At the end of the month they put me on a different one, with similar side-effects. Still … short-term memory loss. November held the same results with medicine trial number three. – Did I mention I was employed full-time as well as attending university full-time? So let’s just say … I had to do a lot of apologizing to co-workers and professors when I realized I didn’t remember pretty much three months of my life.

So, the semester I was to be figuring out what to do post graduation I was also having the hardest time remembering where I was and what I was supposed to be doing there. In September I began looking at graduate schools for an MA in TESOL. I also was looking into going to either Indonesia, various places in the Middle East, or S. Korea (where I have a few friends). October rolled around. On October 1st I received an email from a friend asking if I was interested in teaching in China. I told him no, but thanks anyway. Three days later, October 4, I received a call from a group based out of Tennessee asking if I would be interested in teaching in China. I told them I would think about it, but I honestly wasn’t super interested. Then, three days later, October 7, I received an email from a close friend. It was information on a job in China.

What a “coincidence” that I would be presented with three opportunities over a 9 day span for teaching jobs in China. Not exactly where I thought I would be going. I was also not “all there” do to my crazy meds. So making a decision too soon was something I wanted to avoid. But reading through the email of the job and opportunities available made me positive that I was supposed to take that particular job and move to that particular city.

The next couple of months, post crazy meds, were spent figuring out if I should join the expat community and become a teacher in China.

Today, I went through pictures and emails. Thought about the past year.

The past year has held so much: joy, sadness, physical pain, physical triumphs, big decisions, various trips, many new friends, saying goodbye to some of the best friends anyone could ever have, and everything in between.

A year can hold so much. We often make plans for what we want each year to hold, but we don’t always get to choose. A year ago I would have told you after graduation I would either be going to graduate school or teaching English in Indonesia. I never would have thought I would be in China. Yet, as I sit here in China, I know that I can set goals and I can have ideas for the next year, but the next year will not be at all what I expect. I have only been in China for three months, but it has been so much better than I could have ever expected. There is something about knowing you are exactly where you are supposed to be that makes everything around you seem so worth it.

There is so much a year can hold, don’t forget that. It is a great life lesson.

It has been a crazy year, but here are some of my favorite moments from the past year:

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