This first week has flown by, so many new experiences and a great deal of new learning.
New Learnings about China:
Always look both ways before crossing the street or you WILL get hit by a bike, scooter or car.
You can get anything delivered to your door any day/any time. There are multiple online services that will bring take out, groceries, furniture etc. so you never have to leave the house.
Although some strange things happen at IKEA in China IKEA is IKEA and just like any college student or someone starting on their own you can get anything you need to furnish a new apt.
There are many markets that you can get what you need: meat, fruit, veggies, nuts, rice, noodles, milk, seafood, flowers and plants. You name it you can find it.
Chinese labourers work hard. Many people work every day of the week often putting in long hours.
Learning Mandarin is a must. Some people have very limited English and you can communicate but knowing Mandarin is important if you want to be independent and venture to parts of the city where English is not spoken.
For me everything I need is within a 1-2km radius from my work and school.
There are bikes EVERYWHERE! Bikes on top of bikes. You can rent them to go wherever you want. Just scan and go.
WeChat is an app that is used for EVERYTHING. Messaging, paying for items, ordering, posting daily updates. You name it you can do it on WeChat.
Learning About Myself
There are few comforts from home that I am missing: Skinny Pop, Chocolate and Kraft Peanut Butter but for the most part I am happy trying new foods and finding interesting substitutes for those things I love.
I always thought I was independent but moving to China has forced me to do things,try things and rely on myself more than ever. I have been pushed outside my comfort zone and had to find new ways of doing things and figure it out.
I love leading. I am so passionate about professional learning and sharing it with others. This week has been spent creating presentations and activities for new and returning staff and I have thoroughly enjoyed each and every minute of it.
I love being part of a team. Some times being a school leader is lonely and here I have the skills, support and knowledge of a talented and innovative admin team!
FaceTime is keeping me connected with my family. This helps with the homesickness and feeling like I am missing things. The time change is perfect for staying in touch!
I like being alone at times but I do love the fact that I am surrounded by lots of people I can call and do something with at the drop of a dime.
I am having to reframe my thinking and approach situations/problems from a different perspective. I am really trying to use my experience with a new lens and not make comparisons about how I have done things in the past. I use the lessons I have learned and apply them in a new way to my new context.
I do not feel as stressed as I usually am at this time of the year. I am excited, curious, nervous and energized about the new school year. I feel free to be able to focus on teaching and learning and supporting new and returning teachers.
Some times it is the small things that make a difference. Fresh flowers, the familiar scents of my diffuser, a peanut butter sandwich or a glass of wine. These small things can bring comfort at times of uncertainty.
Balance is important and a part of the lifestyle here. If I want my staff to have balance then I need to model it for myself.
Relationships, relationships, relationships are MOST important. Forming new ones and nurturing the old ones. I deeply miss my family and close friends but know that they are just a call away.
This was the right decision for me at this time.
Looking forward to the week to come and the opportunities that lie ahead…..