Changes

Life always takes you for a ride, and while you do have that seatbelt on, you can never tell if you really won’t be thrown off. So you might as well enjoy it.

Hello, my friends. It’s been one year again, and as is traditional for my life these past three years, this brings another round of pretty big changes.

(Well, at least I’m still going to be living in the same country, not to mention city and apartment. That’s a first.)

I’m leaving YCIS and the Hong Kong Baptist University has offered me a position as a lecturer in English in their community college. I just signed the contract today and I have a pile of paperwork to fill out and a medical check-up tomorrow. Work starts on the first of September.

Today was very fittingly my last teaching day in YCIS. There really is something very nice about receiving two boxes of chocolates (Meiji and Royce too!) from your students and them leaving you little messages on the whiteboard. I do wish I could see them grow up into young men and women because this is the age when that happens. I don’t understand how some parents can even miss it. They really are a nice bunch of kids. A handful sometimes, but you just have to be firm with them.  I’ve grown quite fond of them, in some way.

Tomorrow we’re having the awards ceremonies and the reports, and lunch with the English department. On Thursday, the graduation ceremonies. Then on Friday, the last inset day for teachers. And beyond that?

Your desk, as cleared as it was when you first arrived.

It’s still difficult for my mind get around the entire situation, in the sense that I can’t believe it’s already been a year. I’ve learned so much, from working full-time and supporting myself alone, that it seems impossible that it’s only been a year. It’s been very humbling. I guess that’s what work does to you – puts you and your ambitions through a little trial by fire, gets you to decide how important (or not) things are to you, forces you to see how much you can be in the mercy of circumstances.

And as much as I don’t like being jokingly compared to JK Rowling by my acquaintances when they discover that I write, I really must salute her for something she quoted from Plutarch when she delivered the commencement speech at Harvard this year (titled “The Fringe Benefits of Failure, and the Importance of Imagination”), because it’s exactly what I have learned from 2007-2008: What we achieve inwardly will change outer reality. Oh, so true.

A friend was telling me how much of an exception I am from my peers back home. Usually our friends start on their first jobs still living with their parents, never having to worry how much the rent has gone through the roof or where the next meal is coming from or what to do when black mold attacks your bathroom during the rainy season in the tropics (keep the vent on, don’t let the humid air in, get the Clorox ready) . We start early back home. Nearly all my friends were working full-time at 20 years old; I was pretty late to have joined the workforce at 22, though my colleagues and students here have been pretty stunned at how young I am. In any case, I think it was a good time for me to start learning. Harder for old dogs to learn new tricks and all that.

It’s been a jolt, I suppose. But I’ve had a good run. February to June was a real crimp but I got through it OK. And I’ve learned that while planning achievements and accomplishments to hang on your belt in the future is fine, healthy ambition, if you’ll be having a dreadful time in the present juggling everything precisely because of that, you’re doing something wrong. I think I’ve mellowed down a bit now; if you can’t be flexible with the world, it’ll kill you.

(There are people who actually enjoy the juggling, though. I can’t fathom them.)

So bring on the good times, eh?

Cheers.

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Posted on June 24, 2008, in Hong Kong, Life in General, Work. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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