Pattaya Days: Time to Make Life Decisions - One For the Books - CycleBlaze

February 18, 2020 to February 22, 2020

Pattaya Days: Time to Make Life Decisions

Based on all that had happened recently, I thought it fitting to take stock of the situation and use this unexpected time off to figure out what to do next.  A great friend back in Canada who had been biking with me on the 2019 trip suggested I should take advantage of this opportunity to quit China for good and start looking for jobs elsewhere.  This was not the first time I had considered such action, and it certainly would not be the last.  

This line of reasoning more or less began in the summer of 2019, when it became clear that China was getting very hostile and unfriendly towards foreigners and increasingly walled off.  Mind you that trend had been going on for years before but I kept denying it, thinking and hoping that things would somehow improve.  During the summer trip which you can read about here, I came very close to quitting China for good when I had lost my passport in Thailand and faced huge obstacles for re-entry

My friend at the time was immensely helpful and he gave extremely good advice.  I'll never forget how he patted me on the back and helped talk me into realizing my true value as a math/science teacher in high demand who could literally find an excellent job at schools all over the world.  I kept doubting myself and thinking that China was my only option.  He said that kind of thinking was ridiculous, followed up by "You're the most employable guy I know.  You'll get so many offers from schools around the world you'll need to turn many down."

It turns out he was 100% correct as this journal and the subsequent ones will show over time.

But the coronavirus was changing everything.  He basically said, "If, after all this, you still don't see the writing on the wall now, you never will.  China is finished, man.  You owe it to yourself to get out of there once and for all, otherwise you're putting yourself in great risk."

I countered with, "Yes I understand but what about my fiancee and all my stuff?"  

As I could see it at the time, there were only two outcomes.  One, the virus would go on and do irreparable damage to the economy as well as worsen China's future for good.  The other outcome was that China would fight the virus with a zero-covid strategy and win, but there would still be many restrictions afterwards.  Either way, China as I had known it was finished and it would never return to anything like it was before.  The curtain was closing on my time there, and I had to make a move.

[Update November 2022]   The reality was a mix of both of these outcomes.  China's zero-covid strategy did work in 2020 to contain the initial covid variants.  Life went on as normal for most of that year while the pandemic spread to the rest of the world.  However, it was mainly in 2022 that the tables turned.  The Omicron variant came to bite China hard and they suffered one extreme lockdown after another while not relaxing the zero-covid strategy.  At that time, the rest of the world got over the pandemic.  For China, the situation continued to get worse and worse as it remains to this day.

So I sent a message to both my boss and head office that I was giving my resignation and beginning to look for other jobs.  Enough was enough, this was time to pull the trigger.  I would still go back to China after this trip to complete the rest of the current contract, but something else would be lined up for September.

Having made that decision, at least, I felt an immense sense of relief and peace come over me.  Yes I was scared as to what to do next, and I felt the full weight of the uncertainty.  But the knowledge that I'd be finished with China in a few months was enough to put the wind back into my sails.  I immediately followed the advice of my best friend and got straight to work organizing all my stuff and getting my job search going in full swing.  The destination would be SE Asia, applying for jobs in Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, and Thailand of course.   I felt confident that I could land something good and then ride a bicycle to that destination once a new offer was confirmed.

I then hung out with the same friend I had talked to yesterday and celebrated my decision to quit.  Go figure, major life decisions were made in Pattaya.  

It was too much to process all this.  But I later attended an online workshop on uncertainty that helped.  Regardless of what other people would say or do, I knew for sure that this coronavirus was going to change everything.

[Update November 2022]:  There have been many theories on the origins of the covid and the issue is far from solved.  Almost 3 years later, I'm now leaning more towards the lab-leak origin.  Even if that was an accident, the Chinese government had plenty of chances to contain the virus in Wuhan at a very early stage.  They took *zero* action.  We know they could have stopped the virus much earlier because of their proven success with zero covid when they first tried it.  But at that point it was too late because they didn't stop flights coming out of Wuhan.  Covid had already spread to the rest of the world by the time China started doing Wuhan-style lockdowns.  No other country could or would replicate that.

Managed to get a few gym classes in
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And surely this too
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Enjoying the Marika Residences
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Today's ride: 25 km (16 miles)
Total: 384 km (238 miles)

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