I celebrated the Wiccan New Year a few months ago, but I thought the New Year that the rest of the world acknowledges would be a good time for an update on my reflections for the past year and my so-called “resolutions” for this year.
Let’s be honest, 2016 sucked in a lot of ways, and I didn’t talk about them a lot on this blog, because I didn’t want to be too negative. I lost three people I knew personally and loved well. We lost a lot of brilliant and creative people who were loved by the world. We elected a President of the United States who I am personally terrified of, and I’m not alone. It is the last year with a President who I think many of us took for granted.
But I would be amiss if I didn’t acknowledge the good things that happened to me this year, in spite of the bad. I made some new friends, and started going down an unexpected path that may just be the best decision I have ever made. I took an online course to receive my TEFL Certificate, which allows me to teach English in foreign countries. I took a trip to Leon, Nicaragua, my first time out of the US in 3 years, and finished my certificate there. It was a lovely time exploring a new country.
After a few weeks of job hunting when I got back, I was offered a teaching job in Beijing, China. I got to take a trip to Washington DC to get my Visa, so I got to explore a city I hadn’t been to since I was 10, and got to visit my sister and a close friend.
Visa now in hand, I will be in China in 5 days! I have quit the soul sucking customer service job I had been in for 2 ½ years. Because of the perfect timing I was finally able to spend Christmas with my family, and New Years with my best friend. And then I am off on the adventure I have been craving! I will be in China this time next week!
So, for all the bad of 2016, a lot of good came from it too. And I hope 2017 will be better.
I typically don’t go for the whole “New Year’s Resolutions” thing, especially as they typically come off as rather insincere. “I will now go to the gym three times a week” which lasts a few days and then never again. But this year, in light of all the changes I have coming up, I decided to resolve a few things to myself.
In five days, I will be moving to China for a year of teaching English to children. If it works out well I may choose to stay longer. This is a big change for me, and although I have experienced moving overseas before, China is obviously a very different place than Scotland. I will be experiencing a different culture in every aspect, and establishing a life there (at least for a relatively short term if it doesn’t become long term). I am very excited and (if I’m honest) nervous, but one of my resolutions is to not let fear overtake my experience. I will say “yes” to new experiences, even if I am nervous about them.
To be more specific, I will not fall into spending a ton of money on western food because the local food is unfamiliar to me. I will try new dishes, and figure out how to make the ones I enjoy. I will experience culture shock, that is inevitable, and it is okay. I will survive the culture shock, and when I am over it, I will learn from the experience. It is the same with homesickness. It is inevitable, but it won’t kill me. I will work hard to be patient with myself and allow myself to grow from these experiences.
And lastly, but certainly not the least, I will continue to develop my Wiccan practices, although it may be harder than I first expect to do so. I will stay in touch with my Pagan friends to keep myself on track (and because I will miss them terribly of course). I will not be able to bring most of my books and tools with me, so that will require some alterations from what I am used to. But I will continue to commune with the Gods and Nature whenever I can, as it gives me guidance when I most need it.
Here’s to an amazing 2017!