A New Place. A New Chapter. And A New Life

This article is the first of my series — An educator’s journey to reimagine education. It is born of Johnson Kee’ and Jonas Ellison’s inspirations where they shared how daily blogging has transformed their lives (here by Johnson and here by Jonas).

I was particularly inspired by Johnson where he talked about his idea of 100 naked words daily, because I am NOT a blogger at all. So far in my life as a 38 year-old mom and college professor, I have blogged only seven or eight times. So, 100 words sounds MUCH more manageable and doable than the concept of daily blogging.

So, here I am with my first blog in this series. Excited to see where this journey is going to take me and how this journey is going to unfold.

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step — Lao Zi.

A New Place

Three weeks ago, I was sitting comfortably in my study in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, working on my latest research paper. Four weeks later (as of today), I am writing this blog from a giant hotel room in Seoul, South Korea!!

What happened? 👇🏽

An Emotional and Physical Rollercoaster

My husband works as a data scientist for an insurance company.

In February, we got the final word that he had been accepted to become a data science consultant for his company’s international branch in South Korea.

On April 8, we landed in Seoul with at least ten suitcases of stuff, with 800 pounds more on its way. 😱

With my older son, younger son in the stroller, and mother-in-law

What a change! And, what a tough decision to make. In March, my life was a mix of stress, tears, and excitement, and frequently some alternate of the three. One day, I would feel excited, “Yes, let’s accept the position, pack up our stuff, jump onto an airplane, and start a new life in Korea.” On another day, I would be stressed out, in tears. “How about my job? How about my career? How about my Twitter chats (if you don’t know me yet, I am a Twitter Chat addict and a social media enthusiast)? The time difference (Korea is 13 hours ahead of the East Coast) would make it hard if not impossible for me to join many chats that I do regularly. And most importantly, how about our family if we chose to stay in two countries? How could I just leave everything behind after being in the US for 14 years?

Today, May 8, exactly one month after we arrived in South Korea, I am sitting here starting my daily blog.

Life has been interesting, to say the least.

A New Chapter and A New Life

I came to the US in 2003 to go to graduate school. My goal in life at the time was to become a college professor. After 2 years at Syracuse University, I embarked on a doctoral journey at the University of Maryland. In 2009, my childhood dream became true. Yes! I started teaching as a tenure-track Assistant Professor at Stockton University in New Jersey.

Life was perfect, calm and predictable.

Today, I am working to transition my role from a College professor to an education and innovation specialist. I love learning. I love technology. I love exploring ways that technology can be applied to enhance the traditional learning and teaching. I also love connecting with forward thinkers and innovative educators/practitioners in the education sector, and bringing the knowledge back to classroom learning.

The journey ahead is uncertain, challenging, exciting, and rewarding. My life so far has been defined by a multitude of happenings coming from all directions. A seed has just been planted. I hope she grows to be a strong, beautiful and healthy tree. To have it happen, I am ready to surrender myself to the unknown, to work on tasks that feel close to my heart and my goal, and to hopefully to create an impact in our education sector.

The journey has just begun … I invite you to follow along and share your feedback with me. Please click on the heart to give me some love and to share my article with people who can benefit from my unconventional journey as a college professor!

P.S. I have successfully reached my goal of 100 words. 🙂

Ai Addyson-Zhang is a professor, speaker, live streamer, social media expert, and digital learning consultant. She connects the dots between social media and education. Ai is on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram @AiAddysonZhang. She’s the host of a weekly Facebook live show, Classroom Without Walls — Using Technology to Reimagine Education, on every Wednesday at 5PM, EST.