I’m still not sure what the next steps will be, though I do know I’ll be heading back to Asia for a look around as soon as I figure out the best time to go for interviews.

Part of my confused state this week is having too many options, and each sounds good for one reason or another. Someone suggested I stay here in Phoenix for a year and get a master’s in curriculum instruction, which, combined with my present master’s in journalism, would make it easier for me to get a good teaching job. And it would allow me to give JC a full year to prepare for my leaving. It would definitely help keep our relationship intact.

Another option is going to Shanghai, where I can almost certainly get a job with my former employer. Yes, it would be with a multinational PR agency and yes, there would be a strong high-tech element. But it would allow me to build a nest egg fast – I was a vice president there and lived comfortably, even though I had to send money back every month to JC for the mortgage.

That’s tempting, but I’m afraid it takes me away from the real goal, which is a switch from a life of servitude to one of at least some contribution. And I have no illusions about teaching; it’s not free of servitude and politics. But there’s a lot less anxiety at the end of the day, and certainly less of the pressure that marks all aspects of public relations.

And then, Shanghai Slim raved about teaching in Shanghai, and that got me curious about looking into it — but I can’t deny Taiwan holds by far the most sway. I am in touch with a lot of people there, all of whom tell me it’s the right place for me in every way.

I’m working on my flights now. A week in Taipei, five days in Beijing, five days in Shanghai and three days in Shenzhen — sound good? I don’t think I’d consider moving to Beijing or Shenzhen, but I have to see old friends in the former, and hopefully meet new friends (from this blog) in the latter. If I were to ever move back to China, it would have to be Shanghai or Kunming. I actually felt more at home in Kunming than anywhere else in China, by far. I loved every instant there. Oh, if I could just live all my dreams…

Thanks for your patience as I once again use this site for personal catharsis and exploration, and infinite thanks to all the incredible suggestions and offers many of you have made. This blog has been an amazing resource for building friendships.

The Discussion: 6 Comments

Dear Richard,

The only problem with Kunming, if you have a mortage to pay, is that teaching jobs there pay low salaries – about 3,000 – 4,000 RMB per month at most usually. But I agree, Kunming is quite a pleasant city, and I really like Yunnan Province. If I was going to live in Yunnan, I”d probably choose Dali over Kunming though.

If you make it to Shenzhen, let me know. I’ll shout you out for a meal and few drinks. And i promise, I won’t wear my black beret either!

Mark Anthony Jones

July 10, 2005 @ 8:17 pm | Comment

I’m looking forward your going to Taiwan immensely, at least, if that IS where you end up. Still, I think you could do a lot worse than have your present options. They all sound pretty good to me. As you say, all have there pros and cons.

You seem to have two extremes and a couple of short-term compromises. One extreme, stay at home for one year and complete the curriculam course (good for r’ship, bad for money and not retuning to Asia–although the year would be pretty easy to put up with if you knew you WERE actually coming to Asia).

The other extreme, go to Taiwan/Shanghai and immediately start doing the kind of job you crave.

Or, a compromise would be to go to Shanghai, work in PR for a year of two and bank that money baby.

If there’s any chance that the partner could come to Asia as well then, HK and Singapore aside, Taipei would suit the best I think.

Where to go? Or stay? It’s much too close for me to attempt to make any kind of call I think, so please excuse me if I bow out gracefully at this point.

July 10, 2005 @ 8:18 pm | Comment

BTW, if you end up in Taiwan (I can actually see you liking the rest of Taiwan over Taipei to be honest) then you’ll be well and truly bitten by the Taiwan bug, as I was and as most people are.

Expectations are (for me personally) constantly hammered down in China and that meant that, when my former company posted me to Nanjing Road East in Taipei, I loved Taiwan and the wonderful people even more!

I’d actually consider retiring in Taiwan (and Thailand of course).

July 10, 2005 @ 8:22 pm | Comment

Richard, I know you’ll keep us all posted. And since I’m on the five year plan (still thinking about where outside of the US I’d like to live in a few years), I am really looking forward to your adventures and opinions.

July 10, 2005 @ 11:23 pm | Comment

I was in Taipei a couple of months ago and I like it very well. It’s a very cultural and civilized version of China, with far fewer people and a good balance of urban and nature.

While I was there, I saw one or two foreign corerspondence jobs. Not sure if that would be your cup of tea. Anyway, I am sure there will be plenty of opportunities for you since Taiwan seems to lack people fluent in English.

Whatever next step you take, I wish you will find joy in what you do.

July 11, 2005 @ 11:13 pm | Comment

Thanks a lot Andrea.

July 11, 2005 @ 11:16 pm | Comment

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