Zaijian Houston, Hello Shenzhen

Downtown Shenzhen as seen from Lotus Mountain Park(蓮花山).
Long time, no blog! First I was busy with moving preparations, then I became occupied with work. Nevertheless, I hope to blog regularly again from now on. :)

So, where am I now and what am I doing?

About a month an a half ago, I moved to Shenzhen, China to begin a new job as a university English lecturer and curriculum designer. After leaving Taiwan last year, I honestly didn't think I'd end up living abroad again, but here I am living in Asia once more. Life's funny that way, isn't it? 

Although it hasn't even been six months, this time around already feels much different. I don't have to contend with the pressures of school, only the responsibilities of work. While there's often a lot to do, I must say I'm enjoying the ride thus far. Not many people my age have the chance to work a job they love in an interesting location. Life is never perfect, but as of now, I'm liking this path on my life journey!

I'd like to reflect a bit in this post and briefly share my thoughts on a few topics that have been rolling around in my mind since my move. 

Afraid of America? Not really but...

Trump. Pulse. Elections. Guns...yeah. I let myself see snips and snatches of the news, but I won't lie; I oftentimes hide behind China's firewall and keep away from it all. When people ask about the benefits of living abroad, I often tell them that I feel safer outside of America. Still, I usually find myself in the States once a year when I'm living overseas. 

This time, however, I don't feel the desire to return to the States...

There are problems in many countries, so I'm not running away. Instead, I feel there are other places in the world which are not only safer but better suit my personality. Frankly, I'd like to continue to live and enter the next stages of my life away from America. I love my friends and family, but I prefer to meet them abroad. Usually I have a solid date for my next visit to the States. This time I have no clue when I'll be on American soil again. It's daunting, but comforting. 

Compare with the heading photo. Shocking, right?
Being a Part of History

Shenzhen is an extremely young city, literally. Most of the city was built within the past 30 years, and example of rapid Chinese-style development. The population is also youthful; most Shenzhenites are in their 20s or 30s. Those born and raised here are similarly quite young. Even many who are part of my generation have migrated here from other provinces. 

Living here feels like making history. My university (which I will introduce properly in a separate post), is less than 5 years old!

Working in this city excites me. Years down the line, I'll be able to look back and tell stories about how I watched and helped it grow. 

At the top of the 500m tall Yangtai Mountain(羊台山).
Mind + Body + Soul

Work gives me quite a bit to accomplish each day, but I've been making an effort to spend time doing what I love and meet new people. I've always been an insular person, so spending the day going hiking by myself or reading a book after work comes naturally to me. 

Still, I've begun to appreciate and enjoy the company of others these days. I've made some kind, funny new friends since my move, and I love having a full apartment! 

A cluttered table is a sign of
good times!
At first, the prospect of putting myself out there scared me quite a bit, but I really enjoy it. I suppose I'm learning the important balance between having "me" time and having a great time with people who have positive energy.

Travel Prospects

Living in Shenzhen is wonderful due to its proximity to several other interesting places both within China and in other countries. The city is literally next door to Hong Kong, so I'm able to take the subway down to a number of boarder crossings and literally walk to the eye of Canton if I wanted to! Taking the ferry to other Pearl River Delta cities is also a cake walk. There are also several trains to major cities in other Chinese provinces.

During my summer break, I'd love to go to Xi'an to see the terra cotta soldiers; Sichuan Province to eat food so spicy it'll kill my taste buds; and possibly briefly brave the air pollution of Beijing to revisit places I went with my college classmates during the summer of 2011.

Additionally, thanks to the many Asian budget airlines, I can fly to Tokyo, Taipei, Seoul, Bangkok, and several other cities for a reasonable price (well, from Hong Kong's airport it's reasonable). I'm seriously considering revisiting Tokyo and seeing Kyoto for the first time as well.

Whatever I decide to do in the near future, I hope you'll come along for the ride. I promise to keep you posted!

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