Coming Home

As the next trip, which is Visa-Trip-to-the-Border, comes around, I’m put into a reflective state. Well, that time has come again and I realized I haven’t been posting since the last trip.

There are a few good reasons for that. I really had something knocked sideways in me after that last border trip, as was quite evident in my writing. I couldn’t get my head straight enough to write a decent blog post.

A few weeks after I got back, I was talking to Kevin, the PhD student who is my biggest supporter here, and he told me that it’s best that I find something new and stop coming to the lab. Judging by the way the main professor keeps coaxing me to stay, I think this just came from Kevin as a friend, not as the professor’s right hand man. Anyway, what he said was probably going to be my plan anyway, but it still kind of knocked me from being sideways to being completely upside down.

I left the lab to walk around outside a bit before dinner time to just let things settle. After a few hours, in the middle of my dinner, I was hit with a really profound realization. I think it’s what I’ve been searching for this whole time I’ve been abroad, but certainly since I’ve been traveling through China.

I realized that I want to start my own “Wellness Center”, for the lack of a better word. I want to learn all kinds of healing modalities from around the world; including Chinese and Japanese medicine, Native American medicine, massage, psychology, nutrition, and yoga. I don’t want, and probably can’t even be, an expert in all of these. I just want to understand them enough to know how and what they can help heal in someone. Then, I can have those experts there or a genuine practitioner to refer people to. I really want to change how people think of these places from luxury treatments for middle to upper class people to a necessity that even people who thought they never had the time or money for it can still access it. I think those people are the ones that need this kind of attention the most.

Put all the specifics aside, I just want to start a place where everyone is really listened to, not just with the ears, but with the whole body, mind, and soul. There are not enough of those resources for poor people. I want my company to be a place where we live what we preach, where the janitor is just as important as the highest leadership position. I’ve heard that lesson before, but really learned it first hand in my job in Laos. Every morning I chatted with our maid in the kitchen before anyone else got to work. Our conversations revealed so much to me about our office from a perspective that was different from anyone else.

Like I said, the details will change quite a bit, especially as I start to learn some of these things and progress down this new path, but I just feel so relieved to at least have the foundation of an idea and a place to go next. I think I finally have something that I can pour myself into and really feel good about spending most of my day doing, knowing that it will lead me to my dreams.

So, after this realization, I kept thinking about options here and decided to learn massage first and use that as my foundation to make a living and still earn all the additional things I want later on.

The problem I keep running into with this is that the only real options for learning a variety of massage techniques here entails working at a spa. Not a bad way to hone my skills, but I don’t want to get stuck in doing that kind of work. So, I need a stronger and more diverse foundation, that way I can really go off and explore the different options. I found a few opportunities to learn Chinese medicine, but that’s even more specialized and I can see it leading me into the same traps.

As I’m thinking about all of this, it’s getting closer to the mark where I should buy the plane ticket home to get the best deal. I don’t know why I’m hesitating with buying the ticket home, but it’s funny that I also did the same thing with getting my international health insurance. I briefly consider going home on a one-way trip, but quickly dismiss that as just giving up on China. After all I’ve been here for about 7 months, which is just before the time where I start to get big rewards from all my hard work with language and cultural learning.

Then, in the midst of all the planning I find out that this girl, who captivated me from the beginning, isn’t interested in me, seemingly even just as a friend. I don’t know what’s a bigger blow, that I dedicated so much energy into developing something between us or that I really felt a deep confidence, deeper than anything I’ve felt before, that it was mutual and strong. Regardless of my hurt pride, I gained some valuable life lessons and probably deserved this because I’ve also selfishly lead other girls on, even though deep down I knew I wasn’t in it.

Then, like a hammer striking a gong, I think “maybe I should go home”. It’s hard for me to admit, but my sudden consideration of going home had a lot to do with this girl. So, as if to make the situation more embarrassing for myself, I realized that I was grasping things too much and trying to force the natural flow of my life into the directions that my brain thought would be best. Another big lesson for me. I need to work on my ability to let go and follow the natural bends in my life and not try to hold on to continuing in one direction just because I got comfortable or just because I have a superficial goal, like getting to the next step with Chinese.

Now with going home as a blaring option, I can really measure the benefits between my pursuit at home versus in China. I even make a list and start to tally reasons for both sides. I talk to my Dad and he give me good advice, that I should pick one option, set my mind to it, and see how it feels. Trust your gut, your instincts. If it feels good, it’s probably right. If it feels bad, try the other decision and see how that one feels.

So, I make my decision… I’m going home and I’m staying there. As the decision settles, I feel better and better about it. I add a few more things to the list and then forget completely about it, I’ve set my decision in stone, so there’s no need for a list.

Now my plan is to go home and study a variety of massage techniques close to home and do all the things I’ve been missing for the past three year journey abroad. It’s time to go home and I can’t be happier about it.

Like any place I’ve come and gone, I will miss China. Even maybe a little bit more than any place I’ve been to before. I don’t know if it’s because I feel that the time was cut a bit short or the feeling that I’ve had since I got here, that there’s something really special about China. Either way, it will be an attraction that will surely be tested with our coming separation.