9 Ways I Am Preparing For My New Life In China
Deciding to move to a new country, over 7,500 miles away is a huge decision! It’s not like moving to a new part of town in the same state; the changes I will face will be drastic. I will experience culture shock, language barriers, huge time zone change (Fuzhou is 13 hrs ahead of Dallas, TX), won’t be near family or friends and I will most likely need to change my way of life and thinking! So how does one prepare for such a life altering decision? It took me a while to really think about this and figure out what I wanted to do to prepare. I finally came up with a solution. So here are the 9 ways I am mentally preparing for this move.
Know my why Knowing my why has been a huge help in preparing for this move. For such a life changing experience, I feel like I needed purpose & goals. Some of my goals include saving, paying off debt, travel to new places, speak a new language, meet new people. I have a long list, and I am really excited to check them off one by one. I think knowing my why will come in handy when I feel lonely, miss the comforts of home or miss my family & friends. It will keep me focused.
Research the new city/country When I received my job offer at York English, I immediately started researching the city I’ll be moving to. When moving to a place that is completely different from your culture, its good to be prepared on what to expect, what’s accepted and what’s not, and simply how people live typical lives. From my research I learned that people in Fuzhou is super friendly & curious, Fuzhou’s air quality is cleaner than most cities in China (Thank God!), and cost of living is dirt cheap! Want to learn more about Fuzhou? Check out my post here!
Connect with individuals living in that country/city One of the first things I did when I found out the City I’ll be moving to was connect with individuals living in and around the Fujian Province, where Fuzhou is located. I did this by joining Facebook groups for China and traveling like “Brothas & Sistas of China” Facebook Group and “Black Elite Travel” Facebook Group. Once accepted into these groups, I made a post telling everyone that I will be moving to Fuzhou and asking if there were anyone in the group living near there. I got TONS of replies from people who lived near or in the city! From there most of them added me to chat groups on WeChat (China’s version of WhatsApp). I loved that I was able to connect with so many people. Since then, I have formed good connections and friendships. I can’t wait to meet them in person when I arrive in Late May. Why was this so helpful? Well for one, knowing someone in a foreign country is helpful for learning the ins & and outs of things to do and places to see. I have received so much advice about things that only people who currently live there can answer. Most importantly, I have made new friends without even being there yet. How cool is that?
Pack items familiar to home For me, this comes down to beauty & hygiene products. I use very specific hair & skin products that are not easily accessible in China. Not having these products would stress me out. So I am making sure I stock up on all the essentials before I go.
Ensure all loved ones have your new way of communication So fun fact: Websites like Facebook, Instagram, even Google are banned in China! Crazy, right? So, in order to get access, I would need a VPN. Another thing I learned is that the best way to communicate (talk, text, video chat) is through WeChat. Since I will be far away from home, I want to be sure my family & friends can easily reach me.
Take care of important matters at home This includes mail, bills, and stuff with you employer.
My Mail: I decided the best way to handle my mail was to pay for a virtual mail service. Yes, this actually exist! Basically, A virtual mailbox is a service which allows you to get your postal mail online. You pick a US physical address and then your mail arrives at a postal facility, the envelopes will get scanned and uploaded to your digital mailbox for you to view and manage from anywhere via smartphone, tablet or computer. The best thing about this service is that I can decide to shred any mail I don’t want or mail/forward mail to my current location.
My Bills: The only bills I really have are my student loans and credit cards that I need to pay off. Best thing about these debts is that I can pay them online. My phone will be canceled because it is best to have an unlocked phone. I will get a local Chinese phone chip for my phone.
My Employers: I recently sent all my employers the last date I would love to stop teaching a month in advance. This gave everyone enough time to find permanent replacements for all my classes. Everyone is super supportive and so excited for me.
Ignore the naysayers There are going to be people who will not see my vision or understand my goals. They will tell me my plans are impossible or I shouldn’t do it, by placing their fears onto me. I had to remind myself of my why. I needed to remember that I need to live my life for me and no one else. As long as i’m happy with my decision, nothing else matters.
Take care of your health Like I mentioned above, moving to a new country is a huge change. I want to be sure I am mentally & physically healthy before my trip. So I am working out consistently, meditating and eating healthy everyday.
Save Travel is stressful by itself. Traveling broke takes it to a whole new level that I do not want to reach. I have been taking extra shifts at work, driving Uber (ride share company), and cooking at home instead of eating out. Any extra money I make, goes into a separate account that stays untouched.