Three months ago, I was blessed with a one-year contract to teach Psychology at a university in China. The university follows a Western University curriculum, which means the students are required to speak and write English.
Before I go any further, I must give three disclaimers: I am an African American woman. I am a "city girl"; I grew up in New York City. I speak one language, English and I know very minimal American Sign Language (ASL).
I have been living in China for three months now and still have not learned the language. I enrolled in a Chinese speaking class, unfortunately the time did not gel with my teaching schedule and as I result, I could not attend. I will be able to attend the class next semester. So, here I am, a New Yorker, living in China and cannot speak the language. I'm sure you can just imagine what it is like trying to communicate with the locals. At times, it can be very challenging. I must admit, my charades skills have drastically improved. Nonetheless, I have learned how to adapt and adjust to my present living situation. Without learning to adapt and adjust I would be extremely frustrated and unhappy.
If we don't learn to adapt and adjust to people and things, we will crack and break under the pressures of life. Adapting and adjusting requires trusting God, humility, and commitment to making yourself happy despite your situation and circumstance. I am away from my family and friends, in distance not in affection. I speak and/or text my family and friends every day. I feel they are here with me and with their love, strength and support I can adapt and adjust.
Adapting and adjusting is a choice. We choose to adapt and adjust and live peacefully or we can choose to not adapt and adjust and be miserable. You see, my situation is not going to change, because I made the commitment for a year. I cannot force my environment to adjust to me. Since my situation is not going to change, I must change and changing means adapting and adjusting to a new way of living. A new way of being. A new way of thinking. I am choosing to embrace the newness, deal with it, and move on.
Some of the changes which take place in life are not always invited, but we must learn to embrace the change because not embracing the change will not make them go away. Change comes to challenge us and more importantly, to grow us up. Are you willing to accept the change? Are you willing to adapt and adjust?
I made the choice to change, adapt and adjust and I am loving my new experience and the new me. I am learning to embrace and appreciate a new and interesting culture. I invite you to join me on the journey to change, adapt and adjust.