Thursday, July 17, 2003

Forty days to go before I fly out of the U.S. bound for Guangzhou, Guangdong - People's Republic of China. It's kind of like a dream at this point. Like I'm going to wake up, shake my head and say, "Whew! That was a weird dream."

Thank God I've got some focus lately, working on my lesson plans for school and tying up loose ends before I fly out. At times I try to reach deep inside myself for answers but they never come. This drive I have to move to China runs deep inside my veins but it can't be brought into words to describe the reason behind it all.

I just have to do this.

I realize the possibilities awaiting me once I get there. I may hate it and wish I had never gone. Actually, I feel I'm prepared for that feeling. I got a taste of it during my trip to Beijing last March but found that the best way to combat the feeling was to get out and get busy. I plan on using the same strategy once I feel it in China.

I'm also prepared for the time of my life. After reading Peter Hessler's book, "River Town - Two Years on the Yangtze," I have found myself getting ancy about being in China again. Although I wrote a travel journal of my thoughts and experiences while in Beijing, I couldn't quite capture the wonder and joy I felt during my long days walking, touring and sight-seeing while in China last March.

I'm hoping I will be able to capture that wonder this time. I plan on writing down my thoughts every day, as Hessler did and I like his idea of having a Chinese desk and an American desk....Studying Mandarin at one and writing English at the other.

This coming Saturday afternoon I'm teaching my first real class at BAE. I had fun interviewing the prospective students last Saturday, people from places like Portugal, Japan, China, Columbia & Brazil. I found myself comfortable with them and found them all to be very polite, humble and gracious.

BAE advertised free English classes for the students so our TEFL class would have students to teach. I'm excited about it really and looking forward to really getting into the meat of things. Typically, for me, I don't like the make-work that is involved (Learning objectives, rationale and the paperwork involved...) and just want to "DO" it and not have to think about it so much.

Next Monday Wanda and I will be traveling to New York state to camp out for five days. We'll be heading into the city on Wednesday to Grand Central Station and on over to 12th avenue and the Chinese Consulate to obtain my visa. Yet another step in this great adventure.

So, being so busy lately, I'm finding solace in cutting trees out back and making firewood. It's hard, sweaty labor but it helps me clear my mind of worries that keep popping into my head and threatening to mess with me.

I'll check back once I return from New York...



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