Tuesday, July 31, 2007

1:24 AM and down to the hour

It seems that everything is all set at this point. I just got finished visiting with Kellie and Daniel, had a great conversation about past friends and upcoming plans.

Now, the only thing left to do is sleep and wait for Alicia to pick us up sometime before 6 AM. In case you all don't know her, she's Alma's sister; Alma was my boss at Ethnic Loft and is my Austin mom.

Despite the easy task of sleeping, I am suddenly panicking, wondering if I have packed everything I need for the next year. It's funny, I have been asked over the last couple of weeks if I am excited/nervous, but it all didn't quite hit me until now. Wow, I'm going to be leaving my country for longer than a short visit. I don't mean to be making a big deal out of this, but for a Texas homeboy, China is pretty out there.

I was able to realize a little bit of the cultural difference ironically through watching the new Simpsons movie; thanks Alicia and Steve for taking Lily and me!

The Simpsons have always been a funny reflection of American life, but for me, it was a wakeup call to some of the things that have been comforting for me; manners, behavior, cultural jokes, things that I shouldn't expect next year in China.

In any case, today was very nice. I experienced being car-less (I sold my car yesterday to Carmax), walking to and from campus, and I got to meet up with my best friend ("brother"), Valdo.

Valdo is someone special with whom I have become very close in the last couple of years. I am going to miss him so so so so much, he has been very impacting in my life. I think that he was sent my way as a guardian angel to look over and take care of me in Austin; in fact, he helped me numerous times last week, moving furniture all around Austin.

It doesn't really hit you how important and invaluable some people are in your life until they're gone, or away from you for a long time. In a way, this trip to China will help to re-ground me in my relationships with my friends and family. In fact, I sent out an email to my uncle Tommy tonight, hoping to reestablish a good relationship with him; we never fought our butted heads, I just didn't make a better effort to keep in touch with him.

Random facts:

I had precisely enough shampoo to last me today. The shampoo bottle had been sitting in my bathroom for over a year, and it just expired this month!

Lily and I are listening to Coldplay right now, good stuff.

Tokyo doesn't have street names? I'll have to check on this in a couple of days.

I love Lily, my friends and my family!

Here are some more pictures from the last month, enjoy!

Across the ocean, but with love,

Monday, July 30, 2007


Thank you all so much for supporting my idea/decision to go to China. I have always strived to lead an interesting life, whether it be through my hobbies or the friends with whom I interact. I think that China will prove to be a very interesting and enjoying experience. However, this decision wouldn't have materialized without the love and support you all have given.

I would like to especially thank Brian and Eileen, Alma and Tony, Marcus, Lily's host family and my own family for the endless support in going through with this endeavor.

Some people truly believe that things happen for a purpose. Not to say that I always believe in this kind of thinking, but it is always nice entertaining myself with the idea that lousy moments in life do add up to something special.

I have been in the midst of moving and packing, along with all of the other exercises which go into closing another chapter of my life. However, all of this has come with some frustration.

I should mention a traffic citation, traffic in general and the time crunch under which everything has occurred.

But wow, time really has flown. I was only speaking about going to China, and I am only a couple of days away from leaving. And, despite the frustration, stress and tiresome, I am close to being ready. Everything is now following into place thankfully.

I secured a tourist visa which should allow me access to China. However, I will still need to obtain a work visa once I'm there. The interesting twist to this is that I will temporarily need to leave the country. I have considered Hong Kong at this point, for it doesn't require a visa and what I can I say, "Hong Kong" just sounds cool.

Apologies for the wordage on this post, I haven't done anything super interesting to tell yet. I can assure you, my blogs from here on out will be more picture driven; after all, pictures do say "1000 words," which will save me my hands.