It is coming close to the end of January in this new year. Every time January rolls around, I always feel caught off-guard by the need to reflect, release, and move forward. Every year has it’s disappointments. Memes aside, 2016 was a difficult year for many, myself included. That doesn’t mean I want a do-over. Sometimes it’s in the darkness we find ourselves and the courage to move forward.
A year ago I was in China, just starting a new job as a teacher in Suzhou. At the beginning of January I obtained my TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) certificate in Guangzhou, China. In those first months I was working with a FYP around living and working in China. I also cycled through a half-dozen post-FYP-FYPs (I’m weird, I know). In the end, everything got scrapped when I was forced to return to the United States (Missouri) in April.
Back in the good old USA, I purchased a car, totaled it before making the first payment, and now drive a late-90s Nissan with more problems than a math test. As someone who highly values good transportation, knows nothing about vehicle repair, and is terrified of city driving in a vehicle with good brakes, it has been rough.
Come the beginning of August I was dragged to Nashville for a week. I was offered a couple jobs, met some interesting people, and liked the look of the area. Plans already up in the air, about to make a leap to some random landing pad, I decided Nashville seemed as good a place as any. It took another few weeks to pull my affairs together, but I moved to Nashville at the end of August.
My first week and a half in Nashville were very frustrating. The job I moved for fell through; I never got paid. Immediately I began pursuing freelancing, tutoring, and another job. It took a month, but I finally found a decent job as a temp in accounts payable for a local company and started work at the beginning of October. I still have the job, and am about to be on-boarded as a full-time employee.
Since being in Nashville, my personal life has improved dramatically. When I was here at the beginning of August, I met a very interesting man, and pursued a relationship after returning. It has been going fantastically well. As a native Nashvillian, he has been able to introduce me to some of the best spots in the area, as well as a plethora of interesting people within his circle of friends. Because of this I now have a wide circle of acquaintances, as well as a few really good friends.
In addition, I have begun pursuing certain personal interests (writing, poetry, etc.), which Nashville seems more welcoming of than most areas I’ve lived in. From spoken word poetry events to art museums, Nashville has a great cultural atmosphere, and is very welcoming to new arrivals like myself.
So here’s to 2017!