At some point, every single day, I regret studying Chinese. I regret moving to China and I regret developing a career here.
I regret moving here because there is terrible pollution that makes me sick. I regret studying Chinese because it has taken years and in my heart of hearts, I still feel like I’ve gotten nowhere. I regret working in China because I have to deal with an internet situation that makes it almost impossible to do a good job.
On a deeper level, I regret living in China because I am financially supporting a government that has polluted Beijing to the point where its unlivable without a particulate blocking mask. I work here and I pay taxes. My contribution, in the grand scheme of things, is minimal. But it is mine.
There are a lot of different ways that ex-pats deal with China Regret. The more successful ones can rationalize their life here in either financial or cultural terms: they’re building a bridge between East and West. My rationalization is a lot simpler: I worked very hard to learn Chinese and I feel like I have to be here to take advantage of my hard-work. I’ve made an investment that I don’t want to waste.
Maybe someday the regret will conquer the rationalizations. I don’t know. I do know that there was a crossroads moment for me when leaving China behind was a pretty easy option. I didn’t do it and I would be lying if I said I made the right decision.
Obviously its winter and things will look better once the pollution lifts. And I can always just leave. Maybe I should, who knows? Likely, I would regret the decision to leave too.