Should I stay here? I like my job a lot. It's probably one of the most relaxed and (mostly) fun teaching jobs that ever was. As far as making money and paying off my loans, this is a pretty good place. I could probably make more money in Korea or China proper, but this is still decent. Besides, it's nice to have so many English-speakers around. It's nice for church, meeting people, getting directions, etc. On the other hand, it isn't so great for my language learning. I don't have as much incentive to learn Cantonese as I might if I had to use it to get around.
Another factor is whether my parents will still be here or not. Housing is SUPER expensive here, so it would be tough if I had to pay for my own house. Another thing that I don't like is how much money I spend here. Most of the people I come into contact with are definitely not as thrifty as my last group of friends. I always feel like a cheapskate because I don't like to pay much more than $5US for a meal (but we eat out so much!) and think the clothing prices are atrocious (not much for thrift stores, sadly). BUT I do like it here a lot, and it's a fun city to be in. Not such a huge fan of working six days a week, but it happens.
Should I go back to the States? I miss a lot about the States, some things more than others. Food is one of the things I miss the most. This is kind of lame since Hong Kong probably has the most Western food of any place in Asia, but it doesn't have everything and some of the prices make me stay away. Because of milk prices, we always use powdered milk. I'm not a huge fan of powdered milk, so I won't drink it; it's for cereal only. I used to drink a least two cups of milk a day. I think I've drunk milk maybe two times since I've been here. Sad. Also, I MISS MEXICAN FOOD! Or any kind of Hispanic food, really. Tacos, burritos, chips and salsa, horchata, pupusas....I could go on but I won't. I hear that there are a couple Mexican places around, but they look super expensive.
I miss friends a lot, but even if I move back to the States that won't change. If I went back, I would probably move to Denver and a lot of my friends are still in Arkansas and Oklahoma. But, I could still go see them. There are small things that I miss about living in the States. I can almost imagine a life in Denver, and it's so great. I always imagined what life after college would look like. I'd share a small house with some people, decorate it to my heart's content, work some kind of job, invite people over for dinner, welcome couchsurfers, go to lots of local events, cook and bake a lot, get involved in a church, hang out with teens, etc. I never thought I'd be over here. Although I'm so glad to be here, a part of me is waiting for the excitement of that "normal" life to start.
There are so many little things that I miss. Farmer's markets, driving, houses, concerts, people who like my music, hang-out nights with friends, seasons, thrift stores, jeans, used bookstores, decent libraries, eggnog, campfires, camping, playing in creeks, my pets, snow, snow ice cream, cars driving on the right, parades, carnivals, rodeos, traditions. Really, I don't think of these things THAT much, but they all come up every now and then. It would be nice....
Should I go somewhere else? Even while I dream about life in the States, I also think about other places I'd love to go. Thailand? I loved staying in Bangkok and was tempted to stay there. Somewhere in Latin America? I could really learn Spanish and experience yet another culture. Korea? More delicious food and good money to pay off my loans quickly. Because that's the rub, really. Places like Thailand or Latin America or the Philippines or somewhere in Africa would be awesome, but I would have to make enough to pay for these stupid loans. Who knew that they'd dictate where I'd live? If only I could wish them away and do what I want. Maybe I'd be able to work something out. We'll see, we'll see.
What do you guys think? Thoughts?