Crime, Air Pollution, Activities, traffic, crowding, light pollution, nature access, language, ease of transition, health care, retirement income, affordability, resident visa, climate,
Crime, Air Pollution, Activities, traffic, crowding, light pollution, nature access, language, ease of transition, health care, retirement income, affordability, resident visa, climate,
I spent a couple thousand bucks to get to the U.S. from Australia, and over 40 hours of travel time! I can't imagine it was money or time wasted, but with the U.S. inanities going on during the pandemic, now I'm stuck here. Yogaville is closed indefinitely so who knows if I'll be able to return this year. I can't sit in Mississippi indefinitely, as I don't want to over-rely on my friend and impose too long. I need to get some kind of remote work going, preferably in the form of teaching. I can't teach ESL right now, as I need to do so on Asia time, which is the middle of the night here, and that would disturb my hosts. I'm trying to sort through my options in consideration that I might not be able to return to Yogaville, I need to have some income, and decide whether to return to teaching overseas full-time.
As per usual, I need to get my personal house in order (health and well-being) and create an online income stream.
It's difficult to maintain any stable habits in this new vagabond life I lead: constant upheavals and change, new environs, and differing routines continually end new habits I create. But I know what works, so it's always back to the drawing board to try again.
What works? Getting up and enjoying a cup or two of tea while reading something positive, life-enhancing, or knowledge-increasing. Writing for a while. Shifting into yoga practice within an hour: asana, pranayama, meditation to fully start my day with vigor and the anticipation that I Can Do It! I start of my I Can Do It! Day with a run or a walk after yoga. And then Doing It! by attaching myself to a desk for hour-long increments, dedicating my focus to writing or producing income online. When I break up these hour slots with 5 minutes of calisthenics and strength training, I become more productive, energized, balanced, and happy--add into that the physical benefits. Sticking to a healthy diet and following the Fast800 regime or IF (Intermittent Fasting) helps me lose weight, feel good about myself and my body, and increases my health. Moving throughout the day, regular exercise including yoga asana, and eating healthy is always the answer! I've been off caffeine for nearly one month now (Wow and Yay!), and I am still daily fighting the urge to soothe my heart with sugar and wine. Sometimes I Can Do It!, sometimes not. But I am still trying. Overeating and drinking is inversely proportional to my daily exercise routine; exercising regularly diminishes those cravings and I just don't drink or binge on sugary foods.
Writing daily increases my confidence in my ability, which spurs me toward publishing. Working online (or spending hours daily trying to gain income) ends the fear of running out of money. It seems my push in life is fear of one thing or another, and now--once again-- it's about money.
I try to stop the depressing cycle of thoughts that overwhelms me now and then. Everyone thinks I have this romantic travel lifestyle, and yet I get stuck again and again in negative thinking spirals that drive me toward depression and black thoughts, followed by overeating and overdrinking, which whips the depression into full gallop, always seemingly impossible to stop. My health is not in good shape; in fact, it matches my bank account and my attitude toward life. It is harder and harder for me to find my bounce-back; the emotional and physical resilience I need to pick myself up after a fall. Many times, I wish I could just stay down. Stay asleep. I get sick of the struggle. And it's always a struggle. The struggle has had no end for over 5 years now. But again, I'm trying to focus on what works, and I'm trying to pick myself up and carry-on. I just wish I could be honest with someone other than my Chromebook keyboard--that I could be completely vulnerable with someone other than this blog. It doesn't seem like anyone really understands what depression does and how neural pathways work, and how it's not always my fault or a lack of trying or a negative attitude. Few understand that sometimes, it's easier to sit on the couch and numb the pain. In fact, sometimes I cannot do anything beyond that because the fear is too big, the thoughts are too overwhelming, and I become truly paralyzed in all aspects. I am alone and lonely as hell and I don't know how to be permanently happy or content.
But what works? Writing gratitude posts, doing yoga, taking action, exercise, eating healthy, frequent movement breaks, breaking out of isolation, and trying to smile again. I'm going to go do some of those I Can Do It! actions right now: a bit of yoga to calm the overwhelm, a walk to get me energized, and some action to bring some income in and reduce the financial fears.
I Can Do It!
Getting the vacation bliss sucker-punched right out of me!
What a shit-storm and raw deal I have returned to in Cdu. I already dreaded the return to this vile city, and now I really, really despise this overcrowded, grey-weathered place. Truly, nothing goes well here for me. It started with being notified by the person with whom I was to stay 3 nights that it was no longer convenient for them. That's not a big deal, except that I received that information within 4 days of my arrival to this cursed, polluted, grey city. In the midst of travel, it's hard to make last minute accommodation changes, expecially in a city of 7-20million people (it's China, there are no accurate population stats--let's just say way too many people). So after spending hours trying to figure out the most central place to be, which would be near to my storage unit but still central to the other places I would need to be, I reserved a homestay for three nights. Well-- and of course, I find this out the day of my arrival-- the guy gave me the wrong address to the storage unit, so I am nearly 20 effing kilometers away from it! He gave me the main office address. When they originally moved my stuff to storage n July, he told me it was near to my house. Well, not true at all. Not only that, but I sent my carry on and another medium size box to my storage unit-- or so I thought--only it's at the main office. So now I get to go to the main office to pick up those items, bring them back to the hotel, then head to the storage unit to go through my things there and get what I need for Australia. Oh yeah, and the original place I was going to stay, I had to spend a few hours yesterday getting boxes I had shipped there too. I am feeling really effed by people right now. Having to move my planned "home base" to a hotel, and now being committed to this hotel, which I had to pay for in advance (it's also kind of shitty and not looking as shiny as it did in the advert). It doesn't sound like a big deal, except that I am lugging around numerous boxes and suitcases -- without a hand cart (that was an extra hour to figure out yesterday) -- 20 km all over this traffic-congested city, which takes 40 minutes to get anywhere, not counting the cost of the car service which is already adding up.
Needless to say, my anticipation in coming back and having a nice weekend before I left has diminished to nil. I just want to get the storage unit figured out, sell what I can, and GTFO. I cancelled the dinner party I planned with friends because I've got too much to do and no one to help anyway. I have lost my enthusiasm for being here entirely. Add to all that the angry I am feeling at the person who let me know last minute I couldn't stay with them, and the overall enui that overwhelms the people I know here. They aren't enthused either because both the city and their jobs drain life right out of them. So no help there. And the gd storage guy for that vastly effed mistake. That really effed me. So basically, being back in Cdu makes me feel effed by all sides. Just great.
And yeah, yeah, yeah I really, really, really am trying to be compassionate and retain the peace I gained during my two months away from this shithole. But damn, the circumstances and the nasty city just sucked it all away pretty quickly. I am trying to place my anger somewhere, like onto the personage of the city, to be less angry at the people involved. Or just be angry about the circumstances and forgive the people. I really am! I want to be compassionate toward myself, and do the best I can and not kill myself too much with all the moving and organizing and packing I need to do. Maybe I can just bust my ass today, switch hotels, get a massage and a pedi, and then only have a few details to wrap up tomorrow (I only have tomorrow anyway hehehe... I fly out Sunday). And what is all of this telling me? What is the lesson? I can retain my peace and happiness regardless of the whirlwind of chaos happening outside of me. I can send thoughts of compassion to the person who was too overwhelmed to have visitors, and I can be grateful that I found a storage unit in China that is trustworthy. Soon, I will have my Bose noise-cancelling headphones (heaven!), so I can drown out the screams and screeches of traffic, which will help calm me. I will figure out something productive to do as I sit in traffic for hours today. I will plow through the boxes and get what I need packed for Australia. Quickly, these last two days in Cdu will be over, I will be out of this hellhole and in the arms of the sunny port of Melbourne. From there, I'll figure out what to do with my stuff, so I can get it out of China and not deal with this insanity anymore.
It will all be okay. It will all work out. I'll get it all done. I can remain at peace and happy regardless of circumstances. I can remain in touch with my Higher Self. I will remember to stay grounded in the present moment and let go of both the past and the future.
After a weekend spent pondering and investigating, I have narrowed down theBook of Possibilities to a List of Possibilities. A long-term yoga retreat sounds wonderful, but would eat up the savings. I inquired about enrolling in the local Tibetan University (Southwestern Minzu Uni) to take Tibetan language classes, but missed the deadline. On the other hand, getting a PT faculty post there or at Sichuan U. might not be terribly difficult. They offer faculty housing, low pay, and a few other bennies like airfare. In order for me to work in China, I must have sponsorship by an employer to get the appropriate visa (http://www.china-embassy.org/eng/visas/hrsq/#top). They deport illegal and under-the-table teachers like crazy here; I don't want to be one of them. If I take classes at Uni, I can get a student visa which would settle the visa issue, and allows for restricted part-time work. The other options include working PT as a teacher or tutor, or staying on witth a tourist visa. The tourist visa parameters are ridic, in that they issue you a 10-year visa, but you are required to leave China every 60 days and then re-enter the country. Thus, very expensive and time-consuming, but perhaps worth it if I only plan to have Tourist status for a few months. Once my contract ends --in holy-crap-6-weeks! -- I can transfer to a 30-day Humanitarian visa. I believe it's named this because it is so humanitarian of the gov't not to kick you out immediately, but allow you 30 days to get your affairs in order, pack, etc., before departure. I've known some people who have had to plan relocation, pack, and GTFO, the day their work contract ends, so I am grateful to have learned of this option!
I definitely want to stay in the country; it makes the most sense logistically and financially. I will move forward with my trek plans, and perhaps extend my trek and make it less hurried. Hell, maybe I'll just spend 3-6 months trekking, work remotely (copy editor or tutoring or ESL), and write! If I'm in Kham, I can study and practice Tibetan easily through pure immersion, create a network and guanxi, even discovering job opportunites and living arrangements for the coming year(s) along the way! I need to remember that I can definitely get work remotely to cover travel expenses while trekking. In small towns in Kham, staying in a very nice hotel or in the best room of a guesthouse is 300rmb max ($43) per day, and I'd have to eat three 5-course meals per day to spend the equivalent amount on food. Those prices are on the high side, and don't account for the time I will be trekking (camping). Teaching online at the lower end of the pay scale would only require 15 hours each week to pay for lodging and meal expenses if I chose to stay in cheaper places in less luxury or sacrifice privacy and quiet at a hoste, although most hostels offer private rooms, so they are more like guesthouses or inns that offer hostel/shared-room arrangments). If I really want to go low-budget, student-style (I do NOT) I could probably get by on150rmb per day ($21US) for room/board.
During my trek, I will focus primarily on writing, my sparkly *NEW* podcast -- er, Jeenacast! -- (COMING SOON!), and ponder what to do in the fall. I am really keen on doing some volunteer work in small villages in Kham (or Nepal)! Even my small amount of research this weekend turned up a monastery in Amdo (Golok) that hosts an orphanage where I could teach. This idea came to me from the Sherpa Cinema video about the Sherpas who are trying to break the hereditary cycle of need to do the dangerous work of carrying the loads of rich foreigners to the summits of Everest and other Himalayan peaks. They can break this economic and caste cycle by getting access to education for their children.
https://www.apasherpafoundation.org/ The thought of helping a community by teaching in a local school, hopefully in exchange for lodging, a meal now and then, and local knowledge, appeals to me! In Kham I could do this with the nomad population; still giving me time to write and hike and work remotely part-time. Furthermore, learning more about local Khampa customs and culture could potentially pave the road for me to open a business that both benefits the local community and allows me to support myself! Whether the business is schooling, a cafe, a B&B, or some sort of community-beneficial enterprise that I fund through my Jeenacast patrons or Patreon... there are definitely opportunities out there for me to both help the local community and provide for myself, while continuing to do what I love: hike, write, and teach! The expiration date for teaching abroad will approach faster than I can imagine: the majority of countries will not issue foreign work visas beyond age 60. But if I can establish myself and my business as a WFOE (Wholly Foreign-Owned Enterprise) in China, I will be able to establish longer-term permanent residency.
And yes, I would LOVE to remain in China as long as I can live in a somewhat remote mountain village/town. It may come as a surprise (or not), but I have dreamed of opening a B&B since I was in college and began to frequent Bandera, Texas. I would ride my motorcycle throughout the Hill Country of Central Texas on weekends, to hike and visit country-western bars, and fell in love in and with Bandera (that's a whole nother story!! -- in Texas, whole nother is an actual word. I've worked in hospitality, run my own business, have experience in the financial sector, and worked as a private Chef, so I can pretty much do anything -- especially build and maintain a successful cafe, B&B, or learning-enterprise. It all depends on how much I am willing to work and if I want to devote the time to building a business (at this stage, I am probably more inclined to build a virtual, digital nomad-type biz). To repeat, if I start publishing my work and get my Jeenacast and Patreon going, the need (and desire) for other options becomes moot.
The motivation behind my desire to volunteer in Nepal, and closer to home, here in Kham, can be found in the incredible video below from Sherpa Cinema. Speaking in relative terms, I have "a lot" of disposable income thanks to both China's low cost of living and the high wage structure for foreign educators (actually, high salary opportunities apply to much of the International school industry, if you are a certified and experienced educator). As an educator, I already do a lot of "volunteer" work, in the form of working at home in my personal time; although the situation of being overworked and underpaid due to so much "volunteer" at home lesson-planning is much worse in the US: the pay is already very low for US teachers. Teaching is a very altruistic and giving field, IMO. However, I have also wanted to do service work abroad in the field of medicine or education for a long time, and now I have the opportunity! I am in the position to assist people in raising their standard of living in a meaningful and substantial way. And I want to do it! And I am in a position where it will not cause me to move to a subsistence level because I can still work remotely to earn money!
*https://kingcon7.tistory.com/16 Last Holiday on Korean media site!
Epic News coming down the pipeline! I decided not to take the job in Guiyang--too many red flags and my intuition keeps nudging me that the school is the wrong fit. When I decided that I would not accept the job afte rall, I felt a crashing wave of relief roll through my body! That specific feeling let me know the decision was the right one, plus, the immense feeling of freedom I am currently experiencing is thrilling! I feel happy ... that's been a long time comin'! I haven't felt happy or peaceful since I left india, and before that, it was my summer in Kham where I felt those emotions! I wasn't "happy" when I accepted the job; I was just relieved that I didn't have to continue the job hunt, which was sucking up so much energy and time that I started feeling burnt -- so much wasted time with recruiters and interviews with jobs that were not a good fit. I've never turned down so many jobs before!!! I learned a lot from this last round of interviews and the process as a whole, so I hope in the fall, it will be easier!
What's next? I am humorously designating my sabbatical "Gina's Gap Year"! I love it! At first, it was my "Serendipitous Sabbatical", which also has a nice ring, but then I watched some Coming-of-Age RomCom and Gap Year stuck! What should I do? Where should I go? How will I support myself? Will I stay in China? All of these questions flickered through my head since I made this decision on Tuesday! (And I am sure ya'll are freaking out! by now!!) Well, I have let the creative juices fuel this sense of freedom, and I have realized that my Goddess Serendip has opened the double French Doors of Possibilities and Opportunities ...
... I can fulfill my dreams now!
The more I considered the timing and options, the greater my realization that I now have the time to write and dedicate myself to creating published works from which I can sustain myself financially! Or start a business in China! Or start my Master's! From each novel idea proceeded another! Cartwheeling through the French Doors of Possibilities and Opportunities, I discovered more options: a chocolate mousse cake labeled "Eat Me", and a small bottle of soju with a "Drink Me" tag attached. I took the shot and ate the cake and went through the next door. Then, a thin Larry Fishburne appeared, offering me a choice of two pills as he whispered, "After this, there is no turning back. You take the blue pill—the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill—you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes." Not surprisingly, I talked him into giving me both, and several more doors opened to the National Ginagraphic Multiverse! Hmmmmmmm... so many opportunities! Helltotheyes!
Which ever direction I walk, I will carry my writing journal and dedicate myself to that pursuit. I've told my closest friends, and received so much support, reaffirming what I already know: best decision had been made!
Done and done!
My main goals are to write and recuperate/rejuvenate from a rough year in a nature-soaked setting of mountains or oceanfront. I will spend 1-6 months working part-time to keep my savings intact while writing -- on a beach or in the mountains, but most likely in the mountains if I am able. I will consider self-employment opportunities that can turn into a long-term business, as well as continuing my education. I will also get my brand going by adding a podcast to my blog. Blog, book, podcast... how can I not succeed!
(Note: Since I started this post two days ago, new options and ideas have been presented, with some change to the original plan, although writing and recuperating are definitely leading the way!)
Queen Latifah's "Book of Possibilities"*:
Start a school
Open a BnB
Open a cafe
Patreon - volunteer teacher and community help in Nepal or Kham (details later)
Podcast + Patreon (details later)
Utilize and build guanxi (Ch. for networking and connections)
Don't underestimate me ... I always achieve my goals!
*What!!?? You didn't see Last Holiday with the Queen and LL Cool J? You crazy?
Go. Watch it. Now.
I've been doing a lot of reflecting lately (not that this is different from any other day in my life) about how miserable I am at work ... I hate my job ... ultimately, it is my thoughts about the job -- no matter how much it sucks -- that make me miserable, not the job ... how can I change MY THOUGHTS!!? How can I step out of my misery, accept reality, but work on changing it? How can I live in a miserable situation without it touching me?
I've been concerned about the big move coming up: finding an apartment, hiring movers, packing, logistics of coordinating new job with quitting old job with moving to another city with departing for vacation, preparing for long trek, starting new job, etc. ... ad nauseum.
Then Mooji's quote popped up:
Life Takes Care of Life.
I remembered the crux of these words and decided that it would all work out okay, and I could worry less -- do what I can, but worry less.
I felt better.
I've also been wondering how I can escape the trap of working for others to pursue my deeper dream of writing and hiking and living in the mountains (although I love teaching and still want to teach) ...
I've felt ambivalence the entire time I have negotiated this new job, knowing it wasn't really the right fit, but accepting the negatives because I thought the one big positive (leadership position) would balance it out ... and then the Universe shifted and made the decision for me!
Now EVERYTHING has changed, and my future is a new unknown and I feel...
More news will follow when I know more myself, but let's just say that the dreams I have had in the past have a chance of being realized, and the break I need from the breakdown of this past year may come to pass! (I am burnt the f** out!!)
I've dreamt of spending a month -- or a year -- at Yogaville. I've dreamt of spending months hiking and trekking and writing. I've dreamt of becoming and being self-sufficient through writing or running my own business.
I've dreamt dreams, and now I am waking up.
I am awakening to the reality of living them!
You either aren't listening, or you don't get it and we are incompatible. I gave you three chances, and you've blown it. I just don't feel emotionally safe with you, but I do feel manipulated and pressured and pushed. So now, it ends.
I don't care how old I am, or how emotionally mature, or how free, if I want to wait to have sex, you have to respect that. It's my body: I say Who, I say When, I say How. You pressured me about that, and even tried to make me feel bad. I gave you another chance because alcohol was involved. I forgave and moved on because you seemed sincere in your apologies--yet I had it in memory in case it was a warning sign. It was definitely a warning sign of what was to come!
I was sick one weekend and not in touch, although I made it clear that I was ill, needed to rest, and needed downtime and space. Yet you kept texting me about how "worried" you were and "wanted to hear [my] voice"... Dude, I had a freakin' upset stomach, and it was two days ... couldn't you just have respected my needs? Respect my boundaries and limits! It's one thing to care and express care--it's another to stalk someone when they are simply sick. When I finally called you because I was sick of the texts and I knew you wouldn't leave me alone and I had actually started to feel guilty --even though it was YOU who would not honor my boundaries or give me time to rest and recuperate--you spent 20 minutes whining about how we hadn't talked and you felt disconnected and needed to hear my voice and couldn't enjoy your weekend because you were so worried about me. In essence, it was all about YOU! YOU had a bad weekend because I was sick, and then put that off on me as my responsibility. And I fell for it although I could sense being manipulated into feeling guilty for needing time to myself to rest and recover after having spent the last two months go-go-going non-stop with job hunting and work. In fact, this incident reminded me of how you are always pressuring me to spend more time together; albeit in subtle ways that make me feel bad, rather than making me want to see you. I noticed I started feeling obligated to spend more time with you, rather than WANTING to be with you. Hmmm... this situation was quickly becoming more obviously effed up.
That was the Second Incident, and it left me with a huge sense of WRONGNESS and dislike. This was the point where I stopped wanting to be around you at all. In fact, I was overcome by a sense of dread when I thought of seeing you. I knew deep, deep down, your behavior was not healthy. Although I tried to focus on all your good qualities --and you do have many --I could no longer overcome the sense of foreboding and the clanging warning bells and lights going off deep within my Center for Intuition Related to Dysfunctional Relationships. Alarms were ringing at DEFCON 4! These two incidents, added to comments you made about previous relationships, caused lights to flash brightly on The Billboard of Incompatibility, glaring more brightly in the night than the Three Billboards Outside of Ebbing Missouri.
I put it off for as long as possible. I avoided the need for a break-up for as long as possible--although we have been seeing each other less than 6 weeks. Then I knew I could no longer avoid it and we met for dinner. I tried to explain that I felt pushed and pressured, but instead of validating my feelings you argued that no you weren't "pushing" me, you are just very open with you feelings and sharing them... Then went on a 10-minute soliloquy about yourself and your upbringing and how you are very "open" emotionally and how most poeple take a lot of time to get to know one another but you know quickly if there's a connection and aren't afraid to act on it...blah...blah...blah...(not the first time I have listened to you talk about yourself non-stop for more than 5 minutes without even a moment's break for me to grunt in agreement).
Did you listen to what I said? Nope. You just turned it around and made it about you.
That was your third and final chance. After dinner, I once again felt pushed and pressured and manipulated. I felt the opposite of "good" about this so-called relationship, and the sense of dread increased.
I don't feel emotionally safe with you: you are NOT going to validate my needs or feelings; this is quite clear! These are tell-tale signs about a future relationship with you, and that's not the kind of relationship I want-- where my feelings and thoughts are diminished by YOUR wants. Relationships are about TWO people, not one.
Now I am Back to One, and I feel sooooo relieved to be free of the pressure you put on me! Cheers to healthy relationships where both can feel emotionally safe and significant. Thank you Life, for the lesson. Thank you Self, for heeding warning bells quickly and avoiding another emotional disaster!
I am having the hardest time figuring this one out. I don't have anyone to talk to about it, so it is hard to be objective and give myself the advice I need on how to proceed.
Am I setting boundaries or am I fearful because of the last relationship? This guy is saying all the right things, and he is really nice, and professing love... but it's awfully fast and he's also pushy. Or is he? He is expressing his care and concern, but I am also feeling pushed and pressured. Maybe it's that I am not used to someone treating me in a really loving manner... maybe it's that the last guy also said "all the right things" and turned out to be a liar and misrepresent himself emotionally. Are these warning bells, or fear?
My emotional resilience is low right now and I am already stressed from the job hunt and school BS. I don't know whether to trust him or not. There are also cultural differences to consider. I don't know, I just don't know! Are the differences that I see and the warning bells coming from my intuition or fear. And what do I fear?
How lucky am I to be in Rishikesh when Mooji has arrived during the last 4 days of my stay, to offer Satsang and a local ashram! Even the first day was crowded with over 1000 people!
I am certainly moved by his presence--it is indescribable to be in the presence of a living saint, a living swami. The last time I received this blessing was in 2009-ish, at Yogaville, when Swami Marudachulam came to offer a special weekend program.
The feelings were intense then, and they are equally intense now, even as we sat far away from the front, with the best view on a giant screen above us.
My schedule for my last 4 days in Rishikesh has now been upended, as I have decided that attending Satsang takes priority over everything else: pancha karma, yoga classes, meditation classes. Funny that I feel stressed trying to figure out how to get some yoga and pranayama in while arising early enough to arrive for the long lines that offer the first greeting at the ashram, which is about 5 km away from where I am staying in Tapovan.
Beyond all of that, is the thinking and life-analysis that his words inspire within, as I reach into recesses I have pushed aside for the past few years. Change is coming; it has to come, now.
...Small actions in a dynamic system will trigger vast and unexpected changes