In the very beginning, when I first decided to go to 中国, I told people that I planned to stay for a year or two, to get a feel for the language. In 真实ity, I knew it would be longer than a year, and likely longer than two. I had experienced life abroad 在 Japan, and I liked it. I knew any proficiency 在 Chinese would take time, but I also had a special feeling about 中国, even before I had ever been there. Still, I didn’t 真实ly expect anyone to understand those things. It seemed best to keep telling everyone that I planned to stay for a year or two.
好吧，第二年来了又去了，而且正如我所料，我还没有准备离开中国。回到家的朋友会问我打算在那呆多久。我通常给人一个难以捉摸的“maybe another year.” I didn’我不想说我什么时候准备离开。那会使我似乎没有方向。事情的真相是，我在中国停留的时间越长，我所拥有的方向就越多。但是，我再次感到很难解释。“Maybe another year”这是一个简单的答案，大多数人没有’t 真实ly need to know anyway.
不过，我还是有冲突。我知道我的主要兴趣是应用语言学，并且UCLA的程序看起来很有吸引力。我知道我可以参加该计划并在该计划中做得很好，而且我希望获得一所美国大学的硕士学位。但是之后呢？在获得学位后，现在该是该该如何在美国重新生活的时候了，“get a 真实 job.”唯一的问题是我还没有准备好离开中国，这就是学位对我来说似乎代表的。
2003年夏天，一个同时也在教英语的朋友从中国的另一个地方来访。我们必须谈论我们在中国的生活以及我们的未来计划。他的话震惊了我。“I’m staying here. I’我将在中国为自己谋生。”到目前为止，我从未认真考虑过这种选择。我可能会考虑一段时间。
Throughout my own confusion, I had no problem giving friends vague answers, because the truth of the 马特er was that my own plans were still pretty vague too. I longed to share some of my thoughts with my family, but I wanted to sort everything out for myself first. The question I found to be the hardest to bear, though, was one that I 真实ly only got when I visited home. It was always asked 在 nocently, yet 在 complete earnestness, and it pinched my heart every time. It was my mother’s quiet, “John, when 是 you 回家?”
我认为它 was that question, more than anything, that put definite pressure on me to adopt a 真实 plan 在 lieu of a “take things as 他们 come”哲学。我也需要自己知道。
I weighed the factors. What did the USA hold for me? Family. Old friends. A miserable job market. What did 中国 hold for me? Passion 在 my life. Excitement. 一个永远不会完全接受我的社会. The possibility of a 真实, promising career 在 the very field I was 在 to. And a love relationship I was 不 willing to leave behind.
我认为它’s obvious which I chose. Yet to feel good about it, I felt that I 真实ly needed my family’的全力支持。我知道我的姐妹们会支持我，而我的父母会告诉我，他们要我实现自己的梦想，但我不仅仅希望这样做。我希望他们了解我为什么这样做，并且希望他们用他们的心支持我，因为我已经发现每次回家都很难见到他们大一点。他们之前的几年’re actually 旧 越来越少，我不能’t continue my life 在 中国 and be with 他们 at the same time. I didn’不想对任何人有任何不满或失望’s part that I had spent those years 在 中国.
On my recent visit home I had a talk with my family. It was 真实ly hard for me to do. And 他们 gave me the support I hoped for. I know that 他们’ll miss me as I do 他们, but 他们 understand what I’m doing, and 他们 would never ask me to do anything other than that which I love.
Now I am ready to confidently proceed with my life and my career 在 中国. I still plan to go to graduate school 在 Applied Linguistics, but it will be 在 Shanghai, 在 Chinese. My life here is more full of promise than ever.
当人们问我多久’ll be 在 中国, I know my answer.