2017 in Review, by Elizabeth Cunningham [World Class Adventurer #3]

January

I spent New Year’s in Tokyo and fell completely in love with the city. After my Tokyo trip, I took a brief holiday to Taiwan where I stayed for a couple weeks before returning to the mainland.

February

I decided to spend the Chinese New Year in Shanghai where I met some awesome foreigners and locals. I began applying for jobs in Japan and doing Skype interviews.

March

I went to Fuzhou to try to get some money. To my surprise, many ktvs would take foreigners. I made some decent cash and went to Guangzhou at the end of the month.

April

I ran all around getting documents for my Japanese work visa. I felt really excited about my new adventure. The time seemed to drag on and on.

May

I said goodbye to my best student, Victor and got on a plane to Tokyo. I stayed in a hostel for about a week where I met a lovely female student from Paris. She could speak fluent Japanese despite being in the country for only a few months. Unfortunately, she fell on hard times and had to leave a few weeks after my arrival. I moved into a sharehouse where I was the oldest member at 26 but it was near my work so I could accept it for a while.

June

The first month in the second circle of hell. Every day, I walked two miles to work, stayed for ten hours, cooked for myself each night, cried, and passed out. I tried to be friends with coworkers and sharehouse mates but many people I interacted with seemed weird or standoffish. I started to feel like I’d made a mistake.

July

I tried to maintain a positive attitude but the job was wearing down on me. I handed in my resignation letter at the end of the month.

August

This was my last month on the job and I felt thoroughly burnt out. I was counting the days until it would be over.

September

I had moved from Ota-ku to Adachi-ku. The new place was far from the metro but the rent cost was cheap and I didn’t need to live with 10 college bros I had little to nothing in common with so it seemed ok. I went to several job interviews and didn’t get any of them except for one in a small training center in Setagaya. I also took my first trip to Osaka which would have been amazing had I not ended up in the hospital. I hope to visit Osaka again.

October

I’ll never forget the kindness I was shown by the owner of that little English school. I only had six hours a week but I felt happier, calmer, and less-stressed teaching adults. I signed up for several student finding services. Within a few weeks, I had found two private students on my own but working 10 hours a week still wasn’t enough. By the end of the month, I had to make a choice.

November

I decided to go back to China. Without money, Japanese language ability, any decent job offers, or friends, I felt it was impossible to stay in Tokyo. Those six months felt like a blur. Barely anything happened. I worked and then I didn’t.

I spent the second half of the month in a small city in Zhejiang province called Shangyu. I worked solidly for a month before I got bored and decided I wanted to live in a bigger city. I tried to think about where I’d gone before that had a lot of nightlife options and connections.

December

I came back to Fuzhou and got in touch with several old customers. I began living with some friend of a friend. The guy is way too hyper and squirrelly. I find it hard to live with such people so I’ll be moving out next month. Now all of the ktvs here are not taking foreigners as well. I decided that next month, I’m gonna go look at the wholesale hair market in Guangzhou and see if I can begin doing exports on my own with a small team.

photo credit: Paucal Bonne année, avec quelques épines de gel via photopin.com (license)

This post originally appeared on Elizabeth Cunningham’s website worldclassadventurer.com

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