Again it has been too long since I have recorded anything in this blog. How unfortunate as well, as it has been a truly great summer with a lot of experiences, thoughts, and mental progress I think.
In short, since my last post Arcadiy and I completed our great journey West to California, where Kelsey met me and we had a fantastic two weeks in Big Sur, San Jose, Berkeley / Oakland / San Francisco, Napa / Sonoma Valleys, and finally at Get Golden with AIESEC San Jose at Yosemite National Park where we climbed to the very top of Half Dome – my greatest summiting feat. Then I flew out to New York to see some friends including Tiffany and A. King, who were on the cusp of beginning their terms as the first duly elected AIESEC US Member Committee team members in twelve years. I returned to Alabama, where Kelsey came down to visit again for a weekend, and I worked out and relaxed. In July I went up to stay with Kelsey for three weeks in Chapel Hill while also catching Independence Day in Washington, DC. After another week in Gadsden, I helped her move into a new home in DC, where we spent two weeks and said “see you later” for a year (or six months or so) the day before she started her new job this week.
The “see you later” is because on Monday morning I fly out to China for one year to work at a startup content delivery network company called Prime Networks in Beijing. It is a technical traineeship through AIESEC.
That came after a great deal of wrangling with three different opportunities over the summer, and this is what came out on top. Thankfully so, I believe. In China I will get to spend a year in a totally foreign culture, as the only time I’ve been to “Asia” was when I was on the eastern side of Istanbul for a month in August 2007. I will have the opportunity to learn as much as I can of a major world language, Mandarin. I will be working in an area that is related to my degree, and not just teaching English. I will be working for a start-up, to immerse myself in the entrepreneurial environment. From my perspective, although I don’t want to get ahead of myself too much, I am getting a pretty good deal.
I know a lot of people get stressed and anxious and even teary-eyed when they go on a journey like this, leaving their homes and their loved ones. The leaving is not lost on me. I recognize and understand my feelings of separation from my good friends, my family, and my girlfriend very much. The same goes for the places I won’t see for a year. But the drive to know and experience more, to know more people and be a part of more places and learn more from the wide world is orders of magnitude greater than the sadness. I have never been homesick before. I don’t think I will start to in China. I feel propelled towards it, with the wind at my back and the path leading East for now. So much to learn and so much opportunity is a bell-clear beckoning on an early morning.
I must abed now, but soon I will be in Shanghai for two weeks to complete immigration. And then the task begins!