At Christmas time last year, I was working at Youth Digital, and really enjoying my work, with no expectations that anything would change in the near future. I felt like all my varied skills as an educator, game reviewer, tech journo, and game developer all came together in this perfectly tailored role. I don’t think I’ll ever fully understand what happened there, but after hearing about a massive round of pre-Christmas layoffs, and reading a scathing LinkedIn review, I’m less invested in unraveling the mystery. I was part of something cool, while it was cool, and that’s what I want to remember most from my years there.
This spring, I started taking a couple classes towards maybe, kinda, sometime getting my masters, and that sucked up a lot of my evenings and weekends, and I mostly hated it. One nice thing was taking and acing a statistics course, and being reminded that math is not particularly hard for me. Everything about our education system forces us to identify as words people or numbers people, science or creative, and no overlap allowed. So I must be a humanities person because I love fiction and writing and history so much. But I also really enjoy math and coding assignments, and it was quite satisfying to do these assignments.
Next, I’ve got to come up with a personal statement, and source some recommendation letters, and general paperwork stupidity. I make fun of my process-oriented husband a bit, sometimes I call him Capt. Action Plan or ask if he’s secretly a Vulcan, but before meeting Harold, I would never have taken on something with so many steps and so much paperwork. Because, yuck.
This summer, I went to Yangzhou Global IELTS on a summer teaching contract. A certain amount of my motivation was lying awake, night after night, stressing about what I’m doing with my life. But let’s skip over that, and focus on what a wonderful experience Yangzhou turned out to be! I stumbled into a great group of expat friends, my Mandarin was stronger this time, and my ability to roll with last-minute changes came right back. I remembered that, oh, yeah, I’m pretty good at this expat life. In Yangzhou, I spent a lot of time writing, both for editors and for myself, and I experimented with some classroom games. Also, I’m now experienced enough to call this “refining my educational methods” and not “trying out new games on a captive audience.” Progress, maturity, etc. I spent my days off wandering over carved bridges and along the canals of the this ancient city, and ducking into gleaming, air-conditioned Starbucks to escape the steamy heat. Thank you, Yangzhou.
When I came home from China, I took some part-time work in a Chinese restaurant, which worked out better than I could have imagined. You guys, I know so many good Mandarin insults now!
My poor husband, who loves routine and security, and is always strained by changes and upheaval (I realize that this is just a few paragraphs down from telling you that I was sad, so I went to China alone for a few months to feel better. Harold and I don’t always see the world the same way), has just started his third job of 2015. This is a good opportunity for Harold, and hopefully will be a long-term position for him. This time it’s in Boston, which is no New York City, but I shouldn’t complain too much about moving to my second-favorite city. I’m looking forward to being back in Boston, even if a Massachusetts winter isn’t always a delight. After making the best of things in North Carolina for a while, I’m so happy to be back in a city.
My NYR is, as it alway is, to write more and publish more this year that I did last year.