Thursday, July 21, 2011

Departing in T-2 Days!

Wow, I really cannot believe that my departure date is so close at hand.  Even more amazingly, no catastrophes have happened yet!  Oh, sure, I do have my traditional pre-departure sinus infection (ever prompt) and the careless individual who hit my car head-on back in May is trying to file a claim against me (she and her front-seat passenger were not wearing seatbelts and got hurt.  Clearly, the solution is to blame someone else and try to get money.), but other than that, the roadblocks, hassles, and hair-pullingly stressful madness that preceded my year in Korea are nowhere to be seen.  Could I really have an easy trip in my grasp?

The biggest stressor, in all honesty, has been packing.  An extra suitcase costs $200 on United, so I have to limit myself to only one extra.  For Korea, I made do with only two suitcases, but that was for one year whereas this jaunt to China will be at least two years.  Furthermore, in Korea I was teaching ESL and did not have to worry about things like decorating a classroom or creating in-depth lesson plans for high schoolers.  Also, I did not have a dress code in my hagwon — my director was perfectly happy with my wearing jeans and t-shirts.  For my China school, I have to dress professionally.  No complaints here — I think dress codes are a great idea, and I know from experience that students pay a great deal more attention when their teacher is well-dressed.  The only downside is that I have to have more clothes than I did in Korea, which means three suitcases this time around.

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"Passage—immediate passage! the blood burns in my veins! Away, O soul! hoist instantly the anchor!
Cut the hawsers—haul out—shake out every sail!
Have we not stood here like trees in the ground long enough?
Have we not grovell’d here long enough, eating and drinking like mere brutes?
Have we not darken’d and dazed ourselves with books long enough?

Sail forth! steer for the deep waters only!
Reckless, O soul, exploring, I with thee, and thou with me;
For we are bound where mariner has not yet dared to go, And we will risk the ship, ourselves and all.

O my brave soul!
O farther, farther sail!
O daring joy, but safe! Are they not all the seas of God?
O farther, farther, farther sail!"

~Walt Whitman, "Passage to India"