Okay so I've been on a little bit of a downer in the last couple of episodes, but honestly there have been some great moments to my time in China.
Obviously at the top of that list is meeting my beautiful wife, but there are others too. Having days where students thank you sincerely for what you've taught. Getting three years in and suddenly realising that you are just chatting with kids that started off not even knowing colour words. All of these things have been hallelujah moments for me.
Even the little things can make your day. I had one class of very young kids, who I am sure I will talk much more about soon, where every week the parents would bring food for a mini picnic after class. This class was my last for the week and finished up at 8 or 8:30 on a Monday by which point I was usually pretty much over it all. Having the mothers come in with cakes and ice-cream and settle down for another half hour of just drawing and having fun made my week every single time.
It wasn't until I left my first teaching job in Dongying after just over 3 years that I realised just how attached I had become to some of these kids. Despite being their teacher and only seeing most of them once a week I really felt like I was leaving friends. Of course some students I definitely didn't miss but there is always going to be a few like that.
For the most part though by the time I left Dongying I found it really hard to go. All of the staff both foreign and local were great and of my 10 permanent classes I really enjoyed 6 or 7 every week with only one that I always dreaded.
I think here it is also important to talk about the change China made in me. Before I got out there I was a bit of a procrastinator and I hated being the one that had to make the decisions. I was so bad I couldn't even pick from a menu in a restaurant. After nearly five years of being "the boss" in the classroom I feel like I have emerged from that mindset with a whole new attitude for life.
Rory McDonald is an online marketer and digital entrepreneur, co-founder of the Online Business Expert and passionate blogger.