Culture: What Did the Year of the Dog Teach Me?


It’s safe to say this year has been very difficult. I was told that being in China in your own zodiac year (in my case the dog) was bad luck but really, I don’t see how it could have been any worse! The whole year has been a slew of missteps. As I write I just hope I’m not making another. So, what did 2018 teach me?

Not to make rash decisions; this year really went pear shaped in January when I gambled on Spain – big, yet necessary, mistake. I left China to gain European experience. This amounted to about 18 hours of work but it was enough to tell me all I needed to know. It wasn’t the country that’s the problem, but the industry. TESOL is littered with cowboys, brown-noser’s and wheeler dealers and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. People you really don’t want to meet, or at least I don’t anyway. If nothing else I need to change career not the country. 

To follow plans. I should have gone into Laos as planned instead of Spain (see above). That said it was a necessary mistake – I needed to know the information I now possess.  

Not to buy fancy branded gear; American Tourister bags are really not worth the dosh except my day pack. In China their stores are almost on every turn but not in the UK. You can also expect zero customer service though that’s pretty standard at home and speaking of which…

Never return to a country you’ve left. Wales and the greater UK just do not work for me. Six months in the home country and nothing but a new library card. Likewise with NZ, Turkey, Taiwan, and Poland, speaking of…

The Poles are probably the most unreliable and unprofessional people I’ve ever come across including ropey Chinese directors which says it all. 

Working for a major brand is not necessarily safe. 

I am too down to earth for some employers. 

Don’t be afraid of embracing the unknown or another career path. 

Travel still fascinates me, even within Europe. 

The small countries cost the most. Grateful to have done and dusted Andorra and Luxembourg. 

Lenny Kravitz is really very good!

I have some very generous friends whom I will most likely never be able to repay for their extraordinary kindness. 

All in all one to forget, looking forward.




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