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Q: What would it take for you to move back home?

I read that article on the echinacities homepage about a few people moving back home and it was terrifying! One person works in a bakery and sells paper jewelry online and the other is waiting to be accepted back into a school. Or in other words unemployed. That was not a helpful article for those wishing to make it back home.

I get that some people cant stand it here, and are willing to start over completely just to ditch this place. All the power to em i say. That takes alot more courage than sitting here hating life.

Others bolt as soon as they have a kid. Others want their kids to stay.

Would you accept less money to move back? Lots of people here say they like it here and wouldnt move back but if you were offered a job with the same quality of life would you take it? ( i mean dollars and cents. Not talking pollution ect.)

Me I am apprehensive about it. Canadians dont got it easy and facebook only makes it look worse. Im not going back if i have to drive a toyota and my yearly holiday is a camping trip. But if there was an opportunity that gave me the same quality of life then i guess id take it. Im tired of being angry all the time and im tired of being ecstatic if someone says thank you. But i like the money more than i dislike the people here.

What would it take for you to go?

4 years 38 weeks ago in  General  - China

 
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Okay, this is going to be a long one, so please indulge me and forgive certain tangents.

 

Why I want to repatriate (not ‘what would make me go back’) to Canada?

 

I’ve been here since 1998. When I came here, you had to be invited…no simply hopping off a plane and accepting a job. I gave up an intelligent and beautiful girlfriend, my car, my own business (more on this later) and my cottage, my friends (‘cause you’re as good as dead once you commit to being an expat). I made damn good money (25500/mo tax free) and lived the high life.

 

The wages back then were: 28K RMB/mo for a certified teacher (more or less as they are now, 17 years later); 18K RMB/mo for a subject teacher (basically the salary for AP/IB teachers now); 14K RMB/mo for an ESL teacher (hahaha! Look at the starting salaries now…3.5K RMB/mo in some cases); and the university gigs – 5K RMB/mo for a bachelor’s degree, 5.5K RMB/mo for a Masters, 6K RMB/mo for a PhD – same as now except way back when, the teaching requirement was less than 10 hours per week.

 

My motives for coming to China were simple: if I didn’t at least try, than I’d spend the rest of my life wondering ‘what if?’ My business, at that time, was multimedia production (while it was in its nascent stage) and paid about $100 CDN/hr for corporate design. So, I was not an economic refugee or running from anything – more like running ‘to’ something. I did do five years in the Canadian Forces, and applied to the RCMP – passed the entrance exam with a 98.6% only to be told that because I was not a woman or minority, that I couldn’t be accepted.

 

I’ve lived well and enjoyed myself (the single days) over the years. I could kick myself for not investing in real estate back when it was affordable (less than 500K RMB for 100m2 in Beijing – post SARS). I had the chance to buy a restaurant/Internet Café at one point but knew nothing of running either so I passed on that opportunity (and if I could kick my own ass, it would be black-and-blue ‘til the day I die!).

 

What I did know, was that young Chinese students have hopes and dreams like any other students anywhere else in the world. What they didn’t have was a helping hand – a guide – to help them realize their dreams. So, I was a ‘dreamcatcher’ of sorts. I listened, helped, counselled, advised and taught. I built courses, then programs, then developed schools.

 

It was being married then having kids which opened my eyes to the way that things are. No one cares that you have a child, even if they have a child or children of their own. Married life also showed me the contradiction of “traditional Chinese values” and the way things are supposed to be in a “traditional Chinese family.”

 

In 2004, I left the design school (now a degree mill) because I felt that it was morally wrong to pass those who did not deserve to pass. I spent a year traveling around China to see and try new things. This taught me that there’s no real difference between east and west, north and south.  Worked for a 5-star hotel (they paid for the rating) in Urumqi, had to work p/t at EF on the weekends for a ‘legit’ visa, the manager of the EF said they could not pay what I was asking for because, “This is a poor place.” Guided her to the window and pointed out the countless Mercedes and BMWs in the lot. Had a Canadian DOS, a pothead, and got called to the carpet over a couple of parents complaining about their 16 year-old daughters coming home long after midnight on the Sundays when I taught. I asked the manager and DOS, “Hey, did you ask the other students in the same class when I finished my lesson?” Nope. This taught me not to trust anyone, Chinese or foreigners because they simply don’t care about anyone or anything except their own asses.

 

Tried teaching at an ‘experimental Primary school” in Fujian. The students loved me and it was an incredible little town in Fujian. The Headmaster wanted more of the 16K RMB/mo that the gov’t provided her for foreign teachers and thus let me go in order to do more business with Owen Buckland who provided inexperienced backpackers for 3.5K RMB/mo.

 

Had an agreement, at one point, to be a magazine editor for an American multi-millionaire. He said we needed other businesses to support the magazines. Wanted me to source a location and equipment for a beauty salon for his niece over Christmas (whilst he was back in the States). I had to move apartments from GZ to BJ all on my own time and dime whilst trusting his Shanghairen bf/partner to assist. Said person did nothing and guess who got the short end of the stick when the crap hit the fan?

 

Back to teaching. I ended up running a JV (one of the first and last “true” JV schools in China) for over six years. China was up-and-coming (got the ’08 Olympics, got HK and Macau back into the fold…) and demanded that the Canadian school lower its standards. They said, “Sorry, we’re raising our standards, so bye-bye.”

 

From then, I’ve been offered dozens of business opportunities (had a solid opportunity in Zhongshan will at least eight factories, to do business with western wholesalers, but my Chinese partner was too busy trying for face to impress his mistress and my wife was too busy setting up an affair with one of her managers to follow through).

 

I went to Guilin to run an international center – failed because the Beijing HQ wanted “traditional Confucian teaching” for students going abroad and the Chinese Vice Dean wanted to sell the students to religious schools in the States. Went to Linyi to run a program – that failed because the sister of the initial investor  was blinded by promises of big numbers and big money (forgetting that Beijing might have something to say about the operation), an overzealous business manager who knew nothing about education, and a business manager who was/is nothing more than a hustler.

 

On to where I am now. My wife’s uncle works for a public/private entity in the middle of butt-f*ck Shenzhen. My MIL and wife’s uncle talked about how this school is so professional and “stable” so I should work there and my kids can attend a “real” kindergarten for free.

Well, not free, not an “international school” and certainly not professional. Yet another money-grubbing center, yet another useless gov’t kindergarten that expects my boys to march around singing out slogans.

Another year of hell, but at least I’ve completed my Masters in Education and I’ve made – get this Mike – my decision to GTFO of China!

 

So now, I plan to move my family (the twins are already Canadian citizens so the only problem is my wife) to Canada next year. I’m done with the lies, corruption, BS, empty promises, pollution, double-standards, lies, duplicity, lies, ever-invasive interrogations, lies, “nanny-state” policies and laws, lies, food scandals, lies, cost-of-living-increases with non-increasing wages, lies, and the inability to get these nongs to understand that they do not dictate the standards required to get students accepted into western schools (and the lies, have I mentioned the lying yet?).

 

Each of us may choose our own path, but the reality is, everything that you have and hold dear may be taken away from you on the gov’t’s whim.

 

I want my boys to enjoy fresh air and sunshine. I want them to explore forests and creeks, catch (and release) minnows and crayfish. I want my boys to go to school and learn, appreciate knowledge and cultivate a desire for learning instead of being emotionless little robots. I want my wife and kids to experience a world where effort and drive can move them forward rather than guanxi and mianzi.

 

And as for me, I want to spend the rest of my days with a clear conscience. And, please note, other than the first part of my post, I don't mention money - the difference between us fogies and you young pups!

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4 years 38 weeks ago
 
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Okay, this is going to be a long one, so please indulge me and forgive certain tangents.

 

Why I want to repatriate (not ‘what would make me go back’) to Canada?

 

I’ve been here since 1998. When I came here, you had to be invited…no simply hopping off a plane and accepting a job. I gave up an intelligent and beautiful girlfriend, my car, my own business (more on this later) and my cottage, my friends (‘cause you’re as good as dead once you commit to being an expat). I made damn good money (25500/mo tax free) and lived the high life.

 

The wages back then were: 28K RMB/mo for a certified teacher (more or less as they are now, 17 years later); 18K RMB/mo for a subject teacher (basically the salary for AP/IB teachers now); 14K RMB/mo for an ESL teacher (hahaha! Look at the starting salaries now…3.5K RMB/mo in some cases); and the university gigs – 5K RMB/mo for a bachelor’s degree, 5.5K RMB/mo for a Masters, 6K RMB/mo for a PhD – same as now except way back when, the teaching requirement was less than 10 hours per week.

 

My motives for coming to China were simple: if I didn’t at least try, than I’d spend the rest of my life wondering ‘what if?’ My business, at that time, was multimedia production (while it was in its nascent stage) and paid about $100 CDN/hr for corporate design. So, I was not an economic refugee or running from anything – more like running ‘to’ something. I did do five years in the Canadian Forces, and applied to the RCMP – passed the entrance exam with a 98.6% only to be told that because I was not a woman or minority, that I couldn’t be accepted.

 

I’ve lived well and enjoyed myself (the single days) over the years. I could kick myself for not investing in real estate back when it was affordable (less than 500K RMB for 100m2 in Beijing – post SARS). I had the chance to buy a restaurant/Internet Café at one point but knew nothing of running either so I passed on that opportunity (and if I could kick my own ass, it would be black-and-blue ‘til the day I die!).

 

What I did know, was that young Chinese students have hopes and dreams like any other students anywhere else in the world. What they didn’t have was a helping hand – a guide – to help them realize their dreams. So, I was a ‘dreamcatcher’ of sorts. I listened, helped, counselled, advised and taught. I built courses, then programs, then developed schools.

 

It was being married then having kids which opened my eyes to the way that things are. No one cares that you have a child, even if they have a child or children of their own. Married life also showed me the contradiction of “traditional Chinese values” and the way things are supposed to be in a “traditional Chinese family.”

 

In 2004, I left the design school (now a degree mill) because I felt that it was morally wrong to pass those who did not deserve to pass. I spent a year traveling around China to see and try new things. This taught me that there’s no real difference between east and west, north and south.  Worked for a 5-star hotel (they paid for the rating) in Urumqi, had to work p/t at EF on the weekends for a ‘legit’ visa, the manager of the EF said they could not pay what I was asking for because, “This is a poor place.” Guided her to the window and pointed out the countless Mercedes and BMWs in the lot. Had a Canadian DOS, a pothead, and got called to the carpet over a couple of parents complaining about their 16 year-old daughters coming home long after midnight on the Sundays when I taught. I asked the manager and DOS, “Hey, did you ask the other students in the same class when I finished my lesson?” Nope. This taught me not to trust anyone, Chinese or foreigners because they simply don’t care about anyone or anything except their own asses.

 

Tried teaching at an ‘experimental Primary school” in Fujian. The students loved me and it was an incredible little town in Fujian. The Headmaster wanted more of the 16K RMB/mo that the gov’t provided her for foreign teachers and thus let me go in order to do more business with Owen Buckland who provided inexperienced backpackers for 3.5K RMB/mo.

 

Had an agreement, at one point, to be a magazine editor for an American multi-millionaire. He said we needed other businesses to support the magazines. Wanted me to source a location and equipment for a beauty salon for his niece over Christmas (whilst he was back in the States). I had to move apartments from GZ to BJ all on my own time and dime whilst trusting his Shanghairen bf/partner to assist. Said person did nothing and guess who got the short end of the stick when the crap hit the fan?

 

Back to teaching. I ended up running a JV (one of the first and last “true” JV schools in China) for over six years. China was up-and-coming (got the ’08 Olympics, got HK and Macau back into the fold…) and demanded that the Canadian school lower its standards. They said, “Sorry, we’re raising our standards, so bye-bye.”

 

From then, I’ve been offered dozens of business opportunities (had a solid opportunity in Zhongshan will at least eight factories, to do business with western wholesalers, but my Chinese partner was too busy trying for face to impress his mistress and my wife was too busy setting up an affair with one of her managers to follow through).

 

I went to Guilin to run an international center – failed because the Beijing HQ wanted “traditional Confucian teaching” for students going abroad and the Chinese Vice Dean wanted to sell the students to religious schools in the States. Went to Linyi to run a program – that failed because the sister of the initial investor  was blinded by promises of big numbers and big money (forgetting that Beijing might have something to say about the operation), an overzealous business manager who knew nothing about education, and a business manager who was/is nothing more than a hustler.

 

On to where I am now. My wife’s uncle works for a public/private entity in the middle of butt-f*ck Shenzhen. My MIL and wife’s uncle talked about how this school is so professional and “stable” so I should work there and my kids can attend a “real” kindergarten for free.

Well, not free, not an “international school” and certainly not professional. Yet another money-grubbing center, yet another useless gov’t kindergarten that expects my boys to march around singing out slogans.

Another year of hell, but at least I’ve completed my Masters in Education and I’ve made – get this Mike – my decision to GTFO of China!

 

So now, I plan to move my family (the twins are already Canadian citizens so the only problem is my wife) to Canada next year. I’m done with the lies, corruption, BS, empty promises, pollution, double-standards, lies, duplicity, lies, ever-invasive interrogations, lies, “nanny-state” policies and laws, lies, food scandals, lies, cost-of-living-increases with non-increasing wages, lies, and the inability to get these nongs to understand that they do not dictate the standards required to get students accepted into western schools (and the lies, have I mentioned the lying yet?).

 

Each of us may choose our own path, but the reality is, everything that you have and hold dear may be taken away from you on the gov’t’s whim.

 

I want my boys to enjoy fresh air and sunshine. I want them to explore forests and creeks, catch (and release) minnows and crayfish. I want my boys to go to school and learn, appreciate knowledge and cultivate a desire for learning instead of being emotionless little robots. I want my wife and kids to experience a world where effort and drive can move them forward rather than guanxi and mianzi.

 

And as for me, I want to spend the rest of my days with a clear conscience. And, please note, other than the first part of my post, I don't mention money - the difference between us fogies and you young pups!

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4 years 38 weeks ago
 
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Or, would it take the current gov't to annul all foreign jobs, nationalize your properties, savings and holdings to convince you? History has shown this to be plausible, so what would you do then?

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4 years 38 weeks ago
 
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I live here for almost half year, and I realized I could not survive here for entire years. the food bro, I miss my delicious cheap peruvian food. there is not real meat/vegetables/fruit in china. all are genetic modified food. I guess only a peruvian could know this feel since Peru its one of the few countries free of genetic modified food. real food. 

 

 

 

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4 years 38 weeks ago
 
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I expect to die here within the next 5 years or so.

No moving home for me.

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4 years 38 weeks ago
 
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I'm currently on the lookout for a job in Holland. I'm a security guard with 12 years' experience. It was the profession that got me through university and offered more stability than my biology master's degree. It's tricky, not necessarily because of unemployment, but because there are few vacancies close to the German border (where i must live due to immigration). I'm hesitant to rent an apartment before securing a job contract, but moving there will probably open up more opportunities than I can find online.

My wife is supporting the move with our savings. She likes the business opportunities and child support. School is almost free, compared to paying through the nose in China.

But it really isn't the money that worries me at all. Your comment was very brief:
"Others bolt as soon as they have a kid. Others want their kids to stay."
But it outlines a broad lack of understanding held by many expats who underestimate the dangers. The details around education are calculated (often in money terms), but the substance of Chinese education is what worries me most.

I have a university education, and a basic understanding of how nurture can affect the human brain, personality, disposition, mental faculties and so on. I'm barely a layman in terms of knowledge, but despite this, there is NO DOUBT in my mind that Chinese education is harmful. None at all.

Maybe you think you can shrug it off as an inconvenience that can be overcome by solid parenting, but then you overestimate your influence. Chinese education ruins them comprehensively srat to finish, peers will reinforce this everywhere.

"Who cares. As long as my kid will be smart enough to drive the Audi I'll get him, we can have fun traveling. I can watch over him as he finds a girl and has my grandkids." True.
However, your child will develop an emotional void that dominates his decision making. You won't be able to separate him from the negative life lessons. He might crash that Audi of his. The girl he chooses might be a bad apple who easily takes advantage of him. He'll perform more poorly at whatever profession he chooses. He'll disregard good people to hang out with vain fairweather friends. Your kid will force you into saving face, because if the substance isn't there, all that's left is the appearance.

I just remembered you were expecting a daughter not a son - that's a whole different rant. I think you can guess what it's about: Objectification, static appearances, saving face, being exploited, gravitating towards lousy people and so on.

Many expats underestimate the dangers of Chinese education. Coincidentally, none of those have ever taught kids in China. You also stuck to adults, so you never saw how people gradually learn the negativity.

If your child is nearing nursery school age, get out. The sooner the better. If the kid is still in China by 10 years old, your chance of ever having a deep conversation with him/her are gone.

Everything in China can be tolerated, but don't make the decision to endure Chinese education - you are essentially sacrificing your child's mind.

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4 years 38 weeks ago
 
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Well, here's the thing. I bought an apartment here because I can't stand renting any longer. For me, it feels like I am in a state of limbo. I can't properly customize things to make me happy when I am under someone else's roof.

 

So, I know the government could screw me over but I don't plan to be here more than five years. Plus my wife's family has pretty strong ties in this area, so I doubt that would happen... but it is the PRC after all... who knows right?

 

I am pretty certain I could make more money if I were to move back home. It would just make marketing my business A LOT easier, because I could market locally rather than 99% online. Less internet problems, easier for communication (since most clients are from NA).

 

But that isn't really the issue. I am the type of person to put others before me... which is REALLY bad in China (because they will abuse it all to hell). I am still in China because of my wife. And the only thing that will most likely make me leave China is my future children. 

 

I could risk their education in China up until about 5-6 years old... then I would have to leave because that's when the brainwashing starts. It even creeps in with international schools.

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4 years 38 weeks ago
 
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I made the move home a while ago, and just pop in to this forum occasionally now when I'm bored on the bus.

We moved home (for me) to Oz which is obviously not quite the same as Canada but there are similarities. My non-Aussie partner pushed me to move but at the same time he greatly underestimated how difficult it would be to get him permanent residency and how difficult in turn it would be for him to get a proper job before his PR came through. Our first year was very hard work; I stayed in ESL in Sydney because it was easy to get a job and it kept food on the table (don't cry too hard for me) and it was a tough year for him, he was stuck in jobs he'd have turned his nose up at before.

Once his PR came in he got a proper suit, tie and paycheck job and I was able to start looking around for something better. In the last few months I've rejoined the real world of client relationships, KPIs and profit margins, which I'm actually really happy to do.

If I could choose again I'd have pushed harder to stay in Asia to be fully financially ready to take the hit of moving home, but on the other hand living here is infinitely preferable to living in China.

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4 years 37 weeks ago
 
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I came back in France in late March. Not Canada, but I think that would applies to some extent. We had to get a car, we bought a run-of-the-mill urban car.

Here are the difficulties I had to face

* Renting a home with a garden was as not affordable as I though. In 6 years the housing market changed in my home province. We ended-up renting a good flat (up to 2015 standard), in a nice area : no high raise buildings, just trees and greenery, 2 mn from the town center. Rent is reasonable.
* It took me about a month to find that flat. By French standard, it's fast. By my wife's standard, it was slow and that made her grumpy. Disclaimer : my wife never had to hunt for a flat during her whole life.

* In France, rental is usually without furnitures : you have to budget for that. We got Ikea around, but it adds up quickly and just imagine if you are a bit in the sticks. Made my wife more grumpy.

* Declaring my situation to get access to welfare is looooooooooonnnng. Public administration + unusual situation = wasted time.

* My wife complains she does not know people here and she does not find all the food she is wishing for. She complains about the higher cost of life. For her, having to budget a bit equals to be poor, never mind I earn two times the national median income. She is so used of us having to spend just to 20% of my income for the necessities, that she can't wrap her mind around the idea it can be different.

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4 years 37 weeks ago
 
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Global warming would do it for me. Down south, this years summer is waaayyyy too humid.

Very uncomfortable.

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4 years 37 weeks ago
 
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I'm just waiting for my gf to finish her course then we're gone. Unless something unforeseen happens in the meantime of course. I can't stand this place anymore, I haven't been able to for a while now. I'm not going to go into a rant because it's the same issues everyone else has.

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A: Going to HK would be the best bet I reckon, especially if you were loo
A:Going to HK would be the best bet I reckon, especially if you were looking for a church wedding. Chinese weddings are pretty grim IMO - you go to a barren govt dept with souless officials and navigate red tape so some guy can give you a red stamp and a marriage book. You get expensive pictures taken of you both posing in places you'd never go to in everyday life that is somehow supposed to represent your wedding, then a while later it's off to a restaurant where a game show host kind of guy makes sure it's as tacky as possible while the guests eat as fast as they can so they can leave as soon as they finish eating and gave you money. Hell, I'd go to Thailand or the Philippines and get married in Paradise.   -- Stiggs