My Story

admin | | Monday, October 6th, 2008

If you think about something long enough, if you want something bad enough, that thing will consume you and your life. This was what I found with my thoughts of going to China to teach and travel.

I was working in a good job back in Canada, surrounded by great people, but had a passion burning inside me to try something new, to do something else. I had graduated from university majoring in Finance, went off to work as a finance guy and got my accounting designation. Up to then my life, I would have to say, was quite normal: working during the week; playing sports on the weekends. But, I had always enjoyed traveling and going overseas to exotic places. But my most adventurous trips took me to comfortable Western Europe. Where I knew regardless how tough things would be that I’d be able to find something to eat.

During my last few years at work, there was something pushing or pulling me towards China. The thoughts of going to China were consuming my life and taking control.

China was in the news daily, slowly taking over almost every headline. Being a business major, having China and Chinese on my resume sounded like a good idea and a way to open up doors. This was my rational side trying to convince myself to go.

On my drive to work every day, I would pass a shipping yard, was stacked 4-5 containers high. Daily, I would read these metal ‘billboards’ and they always were advertising ‘China Shipping’. I took it as a sign that something was pulling me to ship off to China. This was my spiritual side talking.

At work some of my good friends were Chinese and they also piqued my interest to visit China. I remember clearly one day talking with Michelle about where to go for lunch one day and mentioned how I love “szezhuan” spicy Chinese food. She quickly shot back, “It’s not szezhuan, but Sichuan. It’s a province in China known for its spicy food.” At that moment, I made a mental goal to go to China and to eat authentic Sichuan food in the province of Sichuan. This was my emotional side, or belly, talking.

Another friend of mine was living in Japan at the time in Sapporo. So, I decided to visit him and to see if I could live in Asia. Visiting Japan was a great introduction to Asia for me. When I returned I knew I could survive Japan as it was quite Westernized. But China was a different story.

Honestly, the thought of going to China scared me to death. I didn’t know if I could survive it. I’m a picky (re bad) eater. So opening up my palate was terrifying. The thoughts of eating rice only for a year were flashing before my eyes. Mind you the thought of losing weight was attractive. My language skills were minimal at best. I had survival French in me, but Chinese was a whole other world. The thought of not being able to talk with people also scared the heck out of me. Trying a new career, teaching, and giving up or at least putting on hold my old finance career made my knees and my bank account shake.

But these fears were also what pushed me to go. Most of the places I wanted to travel to and to see were in China. And I figured if I didn’t go now, I never would. So after two years of planning, hemming, hawwing, debating, procrastinating, after getting enough encouragement (Anne telling me, with more passion in her voice than I have ever had, to “Just DO IT Matthew, just do it”). I decided to stop letting my fears consume my life, to kill my fear by doing it and to become an English Teacher in China.


  1. Very inspiring story. China is quite big and full of wonderful things .Wish you have a great time in here.

    Comment by xing — May 18, 2012 @ 7:57 am

  2. Hi my name is Alvin I am a school teacher, I teach E.S.L. and love it. and I love it so much I have built my Blog only to teach young students to learn more english, there is never enough or amount that I do that will be in helping them. I have been tring to find other Blogs or web site that I can send my Blogs to help the students in china.My Blog is english learning for free if you get the chance to see it, let me know
    Thank’s seeeeee ya

    Comment by ALVIN — August 20, 2012 @ 7:07 pm

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