June 22, 2012

Heading Out

The day to leave had finally arrived.  Support for the year had been raised, the first couple newsletters sent out, tears cried, passport received, tickets bought, visas secured, goodbyes said, and luggage packed.  There were nerves and excitement and anxiety.  No fear, just a sense of stepping out into the great unknown.  A hazy idea that I was about to embark on a journey that would change me and shape who I would be.  China seemed so…exotic.  I had heard and read about it and I’m not sure it had sunk in that I would be living there for a year yet.

The first part of journey was training in CA.  It was my first time in the state and I’m sad to say that I did think the smog was fog for about 20 minutes.  Then I remembered I was in the LA area.  I did not make that mistake once I reached Beijing! 

We were able to meet our year long teammates and the others in the program.  I remember meeting with the program director. 2012-06-15 18.58.15 I don’t remember what we did or what was said.  I do remember taking our first team picture, minus our team leader.  We had some time together before we met our summer teams.  (That’s our first team picture ever, minus our team leader, taken at training in CA.)

As part of our training for the year, we were going to be taking part in one of the organization’s summer programs (we were an experiment year…they never did it again!)  We were put on other teams and would spend the summer teacher Chinese English teachers new ways to teach English.  Sounds fun, right?  Most of the 2012-06-14 12.29.51other people participating in the program were teachers or had teaching experience.  Many of them were also older.  I don’t mean older in a bad way.  Some of them were in their 30’s but there were a lot of retired people too.  My team leader was in her 70’s.  Ann was a gentle soul and very wise.  I kept in touch with her for many years after. (Sorry about the picture quality…I took a picture of the picture with my cell phone out of a photo album.)

Little me was kinda freaking out at this idea though, of teaching English teacher?  What did I know?  I was 22 and fresh out of college.  Training was excellent (from what I remember…my brain was mush) and I very much enjoyed my team, as many were teachers and were more than willing to help me figure out what I was doing. 

We were there for about a week before heading flying to Beijing to do some sightseeing and be picked up by our school.  I was still wondering what I had gotten myself into….


Series Intro: A Past Season


  1. Nicole VandeventerJuly 1, 2012 at 12:31 AM

    Huh! This is cool! I didn't know you did anything like that!


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