I’ve always been a firm believer in the motto above so when an opportunity appeared right in front of me to get my hands into something completely different, I couldn’t say no, could I?
Let me start by saying that my husband has always encouraged me to try pursuing new things, however his suggestions never really struck a chord with me (sorry, hun, I really don’t want to open up my own tutoring centre, regardless of how popular and profitable they are in China). Becoming a teacher was already a major change in my life so it’s not like I haven’t taken any professional risks before (not to mention personal ones-hello, China!). I had to re-qualify, go through training and try to find my ground as an educator.
Somehow that change felt a lot different to the one I’ve experienced very recently. Perhaps because after arriving in China I had no choice, I simply had to start a new career. This time, however I did have a choice: do I bite the bullet and try writing an article for the local magazine or not? Nobody told me to do it, I certainly didn’t feel obliged to do it, yet I did it. What’s more, I absolutely cherished having the chance. It might only be a local magazine aimed at the expat community and it might be done on a voluntary basis but nevertheless, it was an opportunity I couldn’t miss. When I first saw the email asking for articles, it felt like I’d almost been waiting for this chance to come and knock on my door and so the decision to go ahead was made very quickly, instantly even. Do you know that feeling when you’re so sure about something, so determined that you don’t stop to think? That was one of those moments.
I did pretend in front of my husband that I was hesitant, that I worried about my skills, and my ability but really I was just fishing for compliments and encouragement:) Thankfully I don’t have to ask my husband twice for those, he’s usually very supportive, especially when it comes to anything that could potentially bring us more money. Materialistic much? Sure, but I appreciated the praises anyway (got to show some TLC to that ego every now and again, don’t I?).
Now, I am not a writer. Not by a long shot. In fact, I don’t even aspire to be one. I just enjoy writing and being able to put my thoughts down on paper, like I do with this blog. Have I ever considered writing professionally? No. If you knew me, you’d know that I’m a very chatty and opinionated individual. I’m like a word-exhibitionist. However it wasn’t the possibility of sharing my views with the wider audience that attracted me to the idea of writing an article (I’m not THAT desperate for attention). Instead, it was the fact that it would be a test, a challenge. As a bilingual I would be testing myself on my grammar, style, range of vocabulary and creation of narrative. I work completely in English and I use almost exclusively English to communicate with my husband and friends over here. I dream and think in English. Yet, as every linguist knows, using a language daily does not equal being able to produce quality writing in that language because commonly-spoken language is very different from academic one. Sure, I’ve written essay upon essay in English during my university years and later when I was re-qualifying but uni essays are not exactly the same as articles (nobody apart from my tutor read my essays but a published article? Potentially loads of people ready to pounce at me with criticism). At the end of the day, I just wanted to try something new, something not related to my work (or any previous jobs) in any way at all. Because…why not?
I can only assume that the other articles, which had been submitted to the magazine, were utter rubbish OR that the editor has no clue about writing because there is no other explanation for the fact that my stupid article about sweat (yes, you read that right) got published!Right? I mean, SWEAT? What was a thinking? I’ll tell you what I was thinking-that I was being different and original and funny (oh greedy ego). Well, whatever the reason, I won’t be dwelling on it because I am too chuffed to bits about the whole thing! I feel proud, appreciated, fulfilled and…I want more. Not that I don’t feel appreciated in my actual job, I really do, but when you discover that you’re not-so-crap in something else too, something that you never really thought of before, it fills you up with so much confidence that you don’t want to stop at that one try. It’s a wonderful feeling, really, to know that there might be more things out there, which you might not only enjoy doing but you might actually be good at!
I think that especially as expats, we may feel limited in what we can achieve while living in a foreign country; without many resources or easy access to opportunities but my case proves, that if you want to try something new, your location should not deter you from it.
Do you want to read my article? (Don’t worry, I’ll totally understand if you don’t feel particularly enticed by the idea of a lecture on the pressing issue of sweating)