a transplanted life in China 

About

 

 

Me:  Roger Jones, English Teacher and student of Chinese, Chengdu, Sichuan.  I’m now in my eighth year in China.  My pastimes include surviving culture shock, photography, writing, studying classical guitar, and eating Sichuan food.

 

 

 

I introduce myself

[From my first blog post, June 2005]

Wed., June 8, 2005 – At the time of this writing, I am in the process of becoming an ESL teacher. Here’s the brief story of what brought me to this point in my life. I’m turning 50 in a few months, I’m a resident of Los Angeles since 1990, budding teacher, disgruntled nonprofit arts employee for 20 years, writer, artist, holder of M.A. in art history, a longtime volunteer in the fields of HIV/AIDS, a volunteer trainer, and a midwestern transplant.

I believe that we have to continually re-invent ourselves. I’ve done it several times: through my coming-out process, in my 12-Step work during 15 years of sobriety, and now through becoming a teacher. In the musical Sweet Charity, the title character sings “No matter where I run, I meet myself there;” hence the title of my blog, Running Into Myself. For me, running into myself happens when I actually STOP running. I’ve run in circles long enough, and now that I’m finally face to face with myself there’s nowhere to hide. When I was young I was continually on the run. I finally came face to face with myself at age 25 when I ran to Washington, DC to work toward a graduate degree. I was faced with a moment of reckoning; I had traveled in two complete circles, to the same sequence of cities/places, in the incredibly short time of three years. I had hit a wall: I collapsed upon myself, mentally and emotionally. I ran into myself.

My journey toward becoming a teacher began 15 years ago: I trained as a volunteer architectural docent for a couple of organizations, and I have worked occasionally as a professional tour guide. Most importantly, I coordinated volunteer trainings for L.A. Shanti, a local provider of HIV/AIDS education and emotional support. Along the way, I have had a few friends who became teachers. Also, as I progressed through my 40s, I realized that I have not lived my dreams of travel and adventure. I have been content to be sedentary and to vegetate in the ever-sunny and dangerously complacent atmosphere of L.A., land of no seasons and where time seems to stand still.

After putting off the idea for a year, I enrolled at UCLA Extension in the TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) program. I still have a couple of classes to complete. For me, change happens slowly. I have also been credentialed by the State of California and by the L.A. Unified School District. I’m looking forward to getting some actual classroom teaching experience.

My current plan is to go abroad to teach EFL (English as a Foreign Language) in early to mid 2006. My preparations are now geared toward that – saving money, taking care of debts, researching where I would like to live, renewing my passport, getting some practical teaching experience, and turning 50 in December. Wish me luck. And good karma.

 

27 Responses

  1. Karen

    Great blog!

  2. What an interesting blog I stumbled onto. Definitely, going to read more… :)

  3. Hi,

    This is a wonderful blog! It was a very good read.

    I was wondering if you would be interested in guest blogging on my blog. It is a collection of my travels and the travels of my guests. If you scan the site you can see that now almost 100% of the posts are from guests. Lately I’ve been finding many people interested in guest posting.

    Included in your post will be a link to your website using whatever anchor text or key words you wish and a description of your site (if you choose to include one.)

    My blog (onetravel.wordpress.com) receives about 2000 visitors a day and that number is steadily growing.

    So if you are interested in being a guest, please let me know.

    Send me an Email:
    gchristodoulou(-at-)OneTravel(-dot-)com

    Warm Regards,
    George Christodoulou
    Travel Blogger | OneTravel
    gchristodoulou(-at-)OneTravel(-dot-)com

    • runningintomyself

      George: Sure, thanks for the invite. I won’t even begin to be able to think about it until about September, when I’m back “home” in China and have time to process all the adventures of my holiday. If you don’t hear from me, please contact me again. Take care, Roger

  4. Your blog is a great find, Roger, especially since I’m leaving for Kaifeng, China, on Sept. 2 at the invitation of some semi-Christian residents there. And, I’ve actually thought about teaching English in China. Contact me at revpaulmckay@gmail.com sometime will you.

  5. Great,nice to see you!english teacher

  6. interesting blog. plan to read more .

  7. Hey Roger!
    Miss you here in California. Your pictures are as amzing as always. I am so glad that you do this so I can keep up with you and your life. As always thinking of you my friend.
    Shane

  8. jofizzlehk

    Hi Roger – Just stumbled upon your blog after searching for reviews of a book with the same title. I think your blog is beautifully written with gorgeous photos.

    I’m an expat too…living in HK…from California, Los Angeles. And, my family and I just returned from a trip to Chengdu (and Juizhaighou, Huang Luong, Ehmei Shan, etc.). Small world.

    I’ve only scanned your blog so far, but I look forward to reading and seeing more…especially as we hope to visit to India and Nepal sometime. I’m not sure if you talk about your camera or photo tips on your blog, but I’m going to look out for any insights you may have mentioned.

    Happy adventures!

    • runningintomyself

      jofizzlehk – Thanks for the feedback. If you ever get to Chengdu again, look me up!
      Best wishes, Roger

  9. Taihai

    Always nice to read your diaries and photos!

    BTW, are you still teaching in UESTC or, have you changed to Sichuan University for a new job afterwards??

    regards,
    your ex-student in UESTC

  10. I’m so pleased to have found your link on Lisa’s “notes from Africa.” I also blog about living abroad–last year in Vietnam, this year in Haiti.

  11. runningintomyself

    Thanks for the comment – I’ll check out your blog.
    – Roger

  12. Hey Roger, I am an editor at ChinaTravel (where we published your post today) and at Chengduliving ;) i am enjoying your blog very much. Next time I am in Chengdu, let’s meet up and swap some tales … u have my emaila ddress now.

    cheers
    Sascha

  13. You’d commented on my blog and thus I found your website. Interesting story!

    You have some lovely photography here, which I have enjoyed for its own sake, and also through a personal connection to Chengdu, as I’ve a couple of nieces and a nephew who were adopted from there. It’s nice to see images of their home city.

  14. kika

    hello,
    i loved your blog. I taught in Taiwan for a year some time ago and am now planning to take steps to make a life-long dream come true, to travel through Mainland China. – Alas, it seems I’ve left it too late. Is there anywhere one can go without being swamped by multitudes of visitors nowadays? Perhaps you may have some advice…?? I’ve already given up on the Eastern sea board and all the big towns and ‘must-see’ landmarks, and now just want to concentrate on small places. But it seems development is catching up faster than travel editors can update last year’s editions!
    Kika

    • Hi kika:

      Glad you like the blog. If you’re willing to sacrifice some comfort, you can find places that are free of the tourist hordes. The mountainous areas of western Sichuan have not yet been “developed” for mass tourism, but the bone-rattling trip by bus over the Sichuan-Tibet Highway can be difficult.

  15. Thanks for your comment on my blog. I agree that we, as gay foreigners in China, can only go so far in helping those in China, being a mentor and getting it through to Chinese gay people that it is okay to be gay is often all we can do. Change has to come from the Chinese gay rights movement itself. Dating Chinese men in China is tricky and I have almost completely sworn off it, at least outside of the large cosmopolitan cities on the coast. Best of luck to you.

    Jonathan

  16. Hi Roger:

    I’m a reporter with SecondAct.com, a U.S. online magazine for people over 40. I’m doing a piece on opportunities for people over 40 who’re interested in an encore career teaching abroad. While doing research online I happened upon a Q&A you’d done on the You Can Teach English site & that led me to your blog. Reading about your experiences is great because it’s the real deal, not some brochure copy from a placement service. I’d love to know more, if you’d be willing to share. I’d love to email you some questions but don’t want to share my address if I don’t know if you don’t manage comments. So I’ll send this through & see what happens.

    Thanks,

    Michelle Rafter, Contributing writer,
    SecondAct.com

  17. Dell

    Hi Roger,

    I couldn’t find an email address anywhere so I thought I’d get in touch here. You have some fantastic photos uploaded here and on flickriver, and we’d love to be able to use one of them for the cover of a publication we’re working on. All credit will of course go to you, and I’d be very happy to discuss further any terms you have for using your work. Please get back touch as soon as you can!

    Dell
    China Programme, Saferworld

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