In August, I’m going to China. I’ll be there for the better part of a year, teaching English, learning Chinese, and generally trying to make the most out of an awesome opportunity. My fiancee, Adrianna, is coming with me. Our program has implied that we will be able to teach at the same school, and though I’m not completely assured by the words of our program coordinators, I am cautiously optimistic that the woman I love will be, at the very least, within walking distance of my domicile.
But that isn’t until August 1st. Today, June 20th, I’m in New Orleans, the city where Adrianna and I went to school, met, fell in love, and will get married. If I could find a great job in New Orleans, I would stay here with our dog (Penley is a dachsund mix, and he’s incredibly adorable). As of yet, however, New Orleans has not seen fit to provide me with meaningful–and gainful–work, so I have chosen to leave, and pursue life elsewhere. As a student of Chinese history (I even got a Master’s, so I feel like I should know more than I do) I felt that the only place I could, would, or should go to try and jump start my life, is China. I would learn the language, I would eat the food, and before I knew it job offers from high-paying businesses in America would be flying in to my inbox, desperately entreating me for aid and offering the highest of salaries. Before all that, of course, I had to actually go.
There are a lot of things you need to do before you go to China. I don’t have a mortgage, and my car is paid off, so I don’t have to worry about big things, but the little stuff really stacks up. First off, Penley needs a home–a task that Adrianna’s parents (who adopted two of our foster pups) have graciously chosen to undertake. Then there is the never ending amount of paperwork for the program itself-visas, passports, shots, resumes, and what seems like hundreds of other forms and fees that have to be completed and paid before you can leave. Of course, not having a mortgage, it is difficult to figure out what to do with all of my junk, especially since I have no idea where I’ll be living when I return to the States. My mother, Susan, in the manner of Adrianna’s parents’ temporary care of Penley, has made her willingness to hold my belongings known (some furniture, a TV, and way too many clothes). And there’s Chinese language, which I’m desperately clawing at in the hopes of gaining some degree of proficiency.
More than anything else though, the thing you have to do before you go to China is…wait. With my visa application in the mail and all the paperwork filled out, I’m at the point now where I simply have a month and ten days to kill until it’s time to jump on a plane and fly away. This doesn’t sound too hard, especially since Adrianna and I are going to be spending a month of that traveling back and forth between our families in Oklahoma and Kansas, but nonetheless, it is proving…tiresome.
Anticipation sucks. There is no way around it, and when you have something as scary/exciting (scareciting?) as traveling to a foreign country where nearly no one speaks English and embarking upon the adventure of a lifetime, the wait can seem like eternity. My hopes–of learning Chinese, of becoming a good teacher, of learning about Chinese culture, and of growing as a person–are not quite outstripped by my anxieties–will this drive Adrianna and I into fits of screaming rage, can I manage the language gap, will I be a decent teacher, or will I look back at this adventure and see it as a huge waste of time?
Either way, I’m writing this as a bit of a warm-up. Something to do before I go. Hopefully, further updates will prove less self-indulgent and more fun, with information on the madness that is ANY AMOUNT OF TIME AT ALL spent with family. It’ll be fun.
Also, here are some pictures from our last few days in New Orleans. Enjoy!