He Knows The Plan, But I Don’t…
For those of you who may be reading a post by me for the first time, welcome. You’re currently reading one of the first posts I’ve written in quite a while. I should probably warn you, it may be a bit of a roller coaster, but it’s a post I need to write.
For those who are just tuning or those who need a refresher since it’s been a while, I’m Amanda. I tend to go by LadyNazlia online, but this is a personal website/blog/mess of things I have filled my time with since around the end of 2017. It really needs to be updated, cleaned up, and since I’ve learned to code since I started this, it needs to be customized and made to look a bit better. However, that is a task for another day.
A quick introduction and a bit of background that may help you to better understand the nature of this post.
I’m a middle and high school teacher who has been living in China since I graduated from college in 2014. I’ve been back to the US a grand total of 2 times (about 9 weeks in total) since moving to China, and prior to the global chaos that began in 2020, I really had no plans nor desire to leave China. I’ve felt safe and happy for a large majority of the time I’ve been here, and I’ve been able to do some amazing things like publish 3 books, learn Filipino Stick Fighting (Eskrima/Ecrima), make a brief attempt at a YouTube music career, and fulfill a life long dream of actually learning to code fluently.
Why I’m Writing Today
The truth is, I am writing this post today in hopes of it helping me to process what has been, is, and will be happening in my life this year. Please forgive me if this is a bit rambly or contains typos and errors. I likely won’t spend a lot of time editing it since it is primarily just a personal outlet to help me process things. But I am very happy to share with you and hope you will enjoy.
With that in mind, I am currently in the process of making a lot of major life changes. I’m leaving the career (educator) that I never wanted to be a part of but have done for the last 8 years happily so (mostly), for my dream job (hacker a.k.a software engineer). That alone is a HUGE transition, but I’ll come back to that in a bit.
I am also preparing to leave China after spending all of my adult life post college here living on my own, and I’m moving in with two amazing people who I hope to be my in-laws one day in the future. I’ll be moving to a city and a state and a house I have never lived in before. Thankfully, they are willing to welcome me and my cats, for which I will forever be greatful.
Unfortunately, as I have heard all my life, “If it was easy, everyone would do it.” And these things, among other things have proven to be quite challenging to say the least.
Struggles With Leaving
When leaving anything that is familiar and stepping outside of our comfort zone, struggles will happen, even struggles we didn’t expect. If I’m being honest, I’ve been struggling a lot over the last 6 months, and I know as I move back to the US after being away so long, the struggles won’t go away or get easier anytime soon.
If I had to summarize my most prevalent struggles into a quick list, it would look something like this:
- Lack of Control
It’s true, we probably all struggle with these things often; daily even. So, what I am going through may be relatable, but remember, I’m writing this to help me process things.
Unknowns are so overwhelming. As someone who is generally a planner, not being able to plan for things because of the large number of unknowns that exist is a HUGE stressor for me. Between flights being canceled, not being able to easily book flights for pets because of heat restrictions and so many people trying to leave China in June and July with pets, and lock downs still happening around the country with little to no notice, even with a flight planning to leave in 21 days, the heartbreaking and stressful reality is that all of those plans could fall through the day I’m supposed to fly and there is nothing I can do about it.
Which brings me to my second item on my list, lack of control. I wouldn’t consider myself to be a control freak, though some people might argue otherwise, but I do like being able to get things done that need to be done. With policies changing daily as prevention measures are increased with even a single locally transmitted case, there are so many things out of my control.
Adding on top of that the fact that I have planned my schedule for my classes for the end of the school year four times and have been told last minute, the day before, or on super short notice that my plans have to change because of x, y, and z that should have been explained weeks ago. Even for someone who tends to be pretty adaptable and I am not usually bothered too much by unexpected changes, it has been really tough dealing with not having control of things recently. Though I truly believe flexibility is the number one skill a teacher must have, a person can only be so flexible before they just break and give up on trying. I’m not giving up yet, but there have been days in the last few weeks where I just wanted to say, “Enough! I can’t take this constant shifting and changing of things in every area of my life anymore.” But I am still pushing forward.
The final item on my list is super personal, and as someone who considers themself to be strong, independent, and competent, admitting to self-doubt even in my own head is a struggle. But I am struggling with it more than I think I ever have, even more than when I first moved to China to teach or when I first started public school as a 6th grader.
Things to Come
I mentioned before that I was leaving teaching to become a software engineer. Without “geeking out” too much, I have always loved computers and coding, even thinking back to drawing with paint and playing minesweeper on the the first family computer growing, even though I didn’t really understand how to play it until I was like 25. I’ve always been fascinated by them. But after high school, I followed my heart instead of my brain and didn’t study computer science.
Looking back, I don’t regret that decision at all. I don’t think a degree in computer science is necessary to become a successful software engineer. Most days, I feel like I am one step closer to proving that to be fact in my own personal journey. Though recently, as the end of my contract approaches, the number of days become fewer and fewer until I am jobless, living in an expensive country that hasn’t felt like home in a long time, trying to break into my dream career, the more I am bombarded with thoughts of self-doubt, sadness, and uncertainty.
I’m not going to let this stop me, but I personally need to lay these thoughts out so that I can be excited about what is to come. I have a new career, a new home, a new family (and my family), among so many other things waiting for me. I am full of so many emotions at ever point on the spectrum and processing them and even making a list of all of them makes my brain hurt. But I am going to try to make a list so that I can put to words what is swirling around in my head and heart that seems to leave my stomach in a perpetual knot.
Though I think this will only just scratch the surface, I think a list will help me start to process:
- Pride (the good kind)
- Doubt (in my decisions and my self)
- Not Ready
There are so many more, but honestly, my brain just isn’t feeling like coming up with other words for what I’m feeling, so this will have to do.
My Take Away
At the beginning, I included a picture of Jeremiah 29:11. This to me is an extremely over quoted verse in the Bible that I have been hearing since I was little and that is supposed to be “comforting” amidst all the unknowns of life.
In a way, it is deeply comforting. Someone (God) is not overwhelmed with unknowns. Someone (God) has total control of the whole situation. Someone (God) never struggles with self-doubt and doesn’t even doubt me, because someone (God) knows it all, and knows me.
He knows me. He knows the plans for me. He know the things that will change, the challenges I will face, and the good/bad things that will happen along the way.
I am comforted by this, I do feel a sense of peace in knowing that someone knows. The problem that still remains is… I STILL DON’T KNOW!
I still doubt where or not I’ll actually make it where I am going. I doubt where I will be a successful software engineer. I doubt whether I will get married and live happily ever after. I am overwhelmed by the unknowns and the constant changes that keep happening around me.
But in the end… It’s okay. I’m okay. Everything will work out, even if it’s not how I intend for it to work out.
I guess the conclusion to this all is that I need to spend more time in pray and trust that God really does have it all figured out, even when I feel like I’m being left in the dark.
If you’ve made it to the end, thanks for taking the time to read my ramblings. I appreciate it. I’m scheduled to finish my job as a teacher on June 9th. I leave this city I’ve been in for the last 4 years with my cats on June 17 and if all goes as planned, I’ll be landing in the US, cats in tow, on June 20.
Thoughts and prayers are greatly appreciated as times like these are stressful for everyone and even more so with the current state of things post-pandemic (if you can consider this post). Thanks again for reading!