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So I just got back from a trip to southern China a few days ago. I was in a “small” (6 million people) city named Qujing in Yunnan province, the province that borders Vietnam, Laos, and Myanmar. My company is starting a program there where foreign teachers will go to teach special classes. My job was to go spread the good news and get to know the school staff and students. I was there for a week and although the city itself is not particularly exciting, it did make me consider what I am doing in Beijing. Food is cheap in the south, weather there is MUCH better than Beijing (basically everywhere is better than Beijing), and people are really friendly (partially because there are no foreigners). I spent a lot of time at the school and got to know a lot of the students. Some of them were crying when I left, gave me presents, and were just welcoming and excited to talk to me in a way that I haven’t felt in a while. My job in the office is usually pretty boring, but this aspect of my work helped recharge my mental batteries, because these kids really were inspired and inspiring. A lot of the students only heard me talk for an hour, but during my week there many students approached me and told me that my advice to them made them decide to try this or do this. I also got to speak on Qujing’s FM radio 2 days in a row, entirely in Chinese. I was really nervous the first time, but it went better than I thought and it was a pretty cool experience. My time in Qujing reminded me of a lot of the good and bad things about China, but the friendliness and innocence of the people were striking. I was ready to leave Qujing, but not exactly ready to go back to Beijing…

Life in Beijing is as it was. Summer is here after about 2 weeks of decent weather. Very hot, sticky, and polluted. I know my lovely parents are always wondering when I am coming back, and I haven’t really thought about coming back that much (sorry parents!), but I have thought more and more about leaving Beijing. It is an exciting, fast-paced, interesting, and dynamic place to live, but the once-majestic appeal of the sights and sounds of Beijing have lost a little of their luster. I do love the people here, but I think I would like people in most places that I would choose to live. I have no doubt that I will not live in Beijing permanently, but it does offer a chance to learn a lot and have a lot of free time, which I like. I know people read about the pollution and people here, but you really can’t understand how bad the pollution is and how many people are here until you see it. As I said before, Qujing has 6 million people and is considered a small city. Most Chinese people have never even heard of it. This was amazing and exciting to me before…now it seems more like a burden.

I am also getting more and more disappointed with myself. I have been given so many amazing opportunities, talents, and been surrounded by the best people that I have met in my life. I have done, seen, and enjoyed so much in my life, but I feel this growing anger with myself for not doing more. This has always been a feeling I have had, but I always thought I am different or special in some way and things will work out for me. I still feel that things will “work out”, but I want to work hard and not just work out. I have never really felt this way before. People always say that you need to find something that you really love to do, and then it doesn’t feel like work. I am trying to do this now for the first time, and hopefully can gain enough intellectual capital so that I am able to create a job for myself rather than continuing to be employed by other people.

I told you that this blog was going to get more bloggy. I need a place to vent and will turn to this every once in a while when my friends are tired of hearing it from me. Everything is good here though and I will hopefully talk to some of you soon. Hope everyone is doing well, 再见 (bye).

β€œTo be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

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