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谢迈克在中国 » Blog Archive » Year end wrap-up

谢迈克在中国

Mike Shecket Goes To China!

Year end wrap-up

December 30th, 2007

  • Am I glad I came here? Yes…it’s not like every day is amazing…after a while it just feels like regular old life. But I feel like I was meant to be here. I might not be making a difference versus some other guy who inevitably would have occupied my place, but I think I’m making a change in myself that is going to be reflected in my future pursuits. That is to say…my being here isn’t really changing the world, but it’s changing me, and maybe that will help me change the world later in some other way.
  • What about the teaching? I don’t know if I’m cut out to be a teacher, per se…at least I have some faults in presumably important areas. It’s really hard for me to get “fake mad”. I get mad or I don’t. If there isn’t some kind of discipline system to impartially and dispassionately enforce, then I’m kind of lost. If I have no power to get students in trouble, I’m not capable of deceiving them into thinking that I do. And if they don’t want to learn anything, I can’t bamboozle them into thinking that they do. I’m definitely better with individuals or small groups who are self-motivated and have a clear goal.
  • What about being away from home? The thing is…I feel like I’m really only in China physically a lot of the time. In my apartment, I eat Western food (or at least my personal take on it), read articles in English about the election, watch American movies and shows, listen to Western music…my mind resides on the Internet a lot of the time, just as it has for ten years or more. Physical, tangible things I miss: hugs, food from home, pets to pet, kids to play with. All in all, though, I’ve made myself quite comfortable here, although I’ve done so by passing a lot of my time in this bubble of foreignness.
  • Stay or go? The economy back home is terrible, everything is expensive, and if you get sick or get sued, you could lose everything you’ve worked for. The government goes into debt that I don’t want. My money gets taken and given to rich old people. Everybody hates us (well, not so much here in China though), we’re still doing stupid stuff, and nobody back there is paying attention. Then again, it’s my country, and maybe I need to man up and deal with it and try to help fix things. In China, I live a charmed life in many ways, but it has nothing to do with me as an individual and everything to due with circumstance of birth. I happen to have been born an English speaker, which gets me all sorts of privileges here. My individual talent or character doesn’t make a bit of difference in getting dropped right at the top of the heap, sitting on top of a vast underclass that makes life easy for me. (Needless to say, I hope and expect they won’t be poor for long, but I certainly haven’t done anything to deserve to be in such a position relative to them.) With my present knowledge, skills, and experience, I’m more or less interchangeable with any other foreigner straight off the plane. If I stayed for a few years and picked up the language, or otherwise set myself apart, maybe things would be different. To my family, though, I’m the only me they’ve got. These are things to think about when it comes to deciding going forward where I am most valued and needed.

2 Responses to “Year end wrap-up”

  1. C N Heidelberg

    Good post. The big question for any expatriate!
    The US looks pretty awful when I think about it from an objective standpoint, for many of the reasons you mentioned and more. Germany is just so relatively pleasant. But, it’s still my country, where almost everyone who cares about me and I care about lives. I never felt like I belonged there, and I’ll feel even less so after living abroad. I’ll never really belong here, either. In the end, it probably won’t really be up to me where I end up anyway - we must go where we can get work.
    Good luck!

  2. Jay Roberts

    I appreciate your sharing so much here. I bet your Dad is proud of you. And you sound quite mature for what I assume is a young age.
    I’ll be 56 this month, and I just got a nice offer to teach & train at Interlingua in Guiyang.
    I’m originally from Milwaukee, am not in Utah, and have credentials in Latin, Humanities, Library Science, genealogy etc.
    Do you think I’d be comfortable there? I’ll really think about your dilemma about the Western bubble while being in China.
    And I’m a picky eater, and wonder how I’d adapt there. It sounds like the school covers everything except food and utilities. I didn’t catch it: did you fly straight there from the states?
    SO: if I come there (waiting to sell my PT Cruiser) what 1 thing from the USA would you like, and what would be a unique gift for the school?
    Cheers= Go Cougars (BYU) and Jazz (17-3 since they acquired Korver from the Sixers)
    jayare_roberts@hotmail.com

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