So some of you may have been following the not-particularly-interesting melodrama that has been my search for an apartment (successful), and my search for a job that is fulfilling and allows me to feed myself (see below).
A quick update: I'm currently working for about US$75 a month at a job (internship) three days a week, and am happy there. My co-workers are a lot of fun and the work is generally interesting, with some opportunities for really cool projects over the next few months. I work on a variety of projects across different industries, which keeps my interest up. I signed a 6-month contract that is essentially non-binding -- I can give them a week's notice and leave with no penalty. I have been given very good feedback on my work, and have been told in casual conversations that I would be welcome to join the company full time if such a position were to come up.
Today, I received a phone call from another company -- I'll call it Company 2. I had been to an interview with a while back, but they didn't have any positions to offer me. Now, they have a position -- a full time job for a decent salary. The company is much more China-focused than the place I'm working at now, so I would have to use my Chinese a lot more; in my current job, I need Chinese only occasionally on the phone or to double-check a translation. Being forced to use my Chinese daily would improve my language skills hugely, but it would also mean a very steep learning curve for the first few months. I would be assigned to a position on a team working with a particular (US-based) company in China, and so would not encounter the same sort of variety I'm seeing in my current job.
I'm not sure what to do. I'm really enjoying my current job, and see it as providing me with more interesting work than Company 2, at least for the next year or so. One problem is money: if this were just about a raise, I would be more willing to stay where I am -- but this is the difference between being able to fully support myself (and buy bike parts!), and not being able to do so at all. Another issue is the Chinese: I am in China, and learning Chinese was one of the main reasons I came here. Company 2 would improve my Chinese immensely, since I would have to use it a lot every day.
Basically, staying where I am is fun and interesting, but doesn't pay or give me much Chinese practice. It's comfortable. Moving would help my Chinese, and give me a salary I could live on, but will be more stressful and difficult, at least in the short term (because of the language). The basic job is essentially the same in both places: editing and researching.
It's not the worst situation to be in, so I'm not looking for pity/sympathy . But if any of you Foosters have sage advice, I'd like to hear it!
Sorry for the long and rambling message.