I can’t believe that it is March already. March 20th will be my one year anniversary of being in China. It is hard to believe that a year has elapsed. How time flies when you are having fun…and I have had lots of fun. And, it has been a great life learning experience. I never really know what day of the week it is or the date of the year. I always have to look at my computer or phone to know. I am living day by day here. So, dates are seldom important for me.
I guess I can try to recap my experiences here in a bullet point presentation:
- I have taught roughly 5000 students in my year here
- I developed a Conversational English program that has garnered remarkable results.
- I worked at a summer camp and a winter camp in Beijing
- I have made some life-long friends in China
- I have seen 2 weddings, a child born into a family, and a funeral
- I have traveled to 8 different cities in China
- I learned very little Chinese language. But, I have developed much knowledge about their culture and traditions.
- I have gone through the stages of Culture Shock. And, it was not a good experience. But, now I can warn others of the issues they could face.
- My view on the world and the USA has changed. My eyes are opened to the world. Not for the better I am sad to report.
- I have lost over 80 pounds this year. And, I hope to lose an additional 15-20 through the summer.
- My journal and my blog have kept my family and friends informed. And, I have made several new international friends through the blog. I hope that it has helped dispel some stereotypes about China and created a new way of seeing China.
- I have taken part in the various holidays and festivals. My favorite festival is Mid-Autumn Festival. My least favorite was Lunar New Years (Spring Festival)
- I have learned to travel by plane, train, and bus in China. I even got to ride the coveted high speed train here.
- I think the biggest achievement is that I have made a difference in people’s lives and changed some perspectives about Americans to my Chinese friends and students. My students are my family. They are everything to me. And, I am part of their families too. The bonds I have developed with them is stronger than just a teacher/student or a friendship. We are truly family.
- And, I think the biggest revelation of my time here in China is that my God is in control of my life. I am just a humble servant. He has shown me that He is real and active. Sure, I have doubts and many questions of “Why” and “How”. But, I know there is a God at work in my life.
So, what does the next year have in store for me? We can never know our future for sure. But, I can make some assumptions.
- I will develop a new English program to enhance the one I have now. And, I will continue to teach it to many more students.
- I will work the summer camp again this year in Beijing
- I hope to visit Inner Mongolia, Guilin, Macau, Shanghai, Hong Kong and maybe Tibet this year. I also would like to visit Thailand, Philippines, Malaysia, or another Asian country. Korea and Vietnam might be an option. Korea is only a day’s ferry trip from here I think.
- Although I will be 48 in June by our calendar, in the Chinese calendar, I will turn 50 next Spring Festival.
- Many ask me when I will visit the USA and my parents. I do not know. It is hard to justify spending over $1000 to fly home for a few weeks. I can spend that money traveling to see new and interesting things. With the use of Skype and QQ, my parents and I talk often. Sure, I would love to see them in person. But, they understand the adventure I am on and only seek my happiness in life. So, maybe in 2015 or 2016 I will come back for a visit.
Many people live in the past, remembering what they have done. They rejoice in their achievements and are humble by their defeats. Some people live for the future. Constantly planning and preparing for things that may never come true. I am living for today. I am in control of the memories for my past. And, my future will occur in a manner that I have little control over. God controls my future. So, I choose to live in the present. Every moment I meet someone new, see something interesting, and share this life I have, I am rich beyond any wealthy man on earth. This is the way I am living in China.