I'm not there yet but am seeking escape from the packing and feel the urge to reflect on the year I've had since getting back from my previous year in China before looking forward to the next one.
It's been a mixed year for me. Coming back from China was lovely, seeing people, walking in the hills, understanding conversations ....
Going back to work here was an enormous shock. After two Inset days, sitting in two days of curriculum meetings, barely understanding what was going on, I felt it was going to be bigger culture shock than spending a year in China. So much had changed, people were so busy and I, though very experienced, felt lost, almost bereft. After three weeks, including a traumatic progress day, last year's course-work to mark and coping with some of my groups, enough said, it was only Tim kicking me out of the door to go for a run and not come back until that teacher-talk feeling had gone that kept me sane. That feeling must have been pretty frequent, though, as I ended up running my first full marathon for 17 years! It wasn't an easy year.
Some time during that year, in bed during a rare day of absence, it struck me that one year in China hadn't been enough. The other VSOers had all gone for 2 years and my one year had gone so quickly, for me. I saw an advert in the TES for language assistants in China, talked to Tim about it, applied, got k*** ed by the boss, got an interview, got accepted, got a placement and here I am today looking forward to just over one week's time when I'll be on my way to Shanghai for the next stage.
I'm lucky that my family accept this, hopefully understand me and don't blame me too much. When I come back I'll have the time to do whatever happens, be it paid work, conservation work like Tim or something completely different. It's lovely to have the feeling of freedom ahead of me this time after my experience this year.