From a Long Goodbye to a Warm Welcome

Reality struck home on the eve of my flight; one of those holy crap moments, I am actually doing this! Although, to be fair, the emotional farewell I received from my Aunt had certainly pushed me in that direction. That farewell belonged to a series of such goodbyes. The first was a family BBQ, a rather small affair. The next was orchestrated by my Father. A few pints, a pub lunch later and he had excitedly wished me on my way. This was followed swiftly by drinks with my oldest friend (and one much newer), then came my Aunt’s, accompanied by my Uncle and Cousin. Finally this dramatic series reached it’s crescendo with a teary goodbye at the airport; waving farewell to my Mother and Step-Father.
There was plenty of time on the 11-hour flight to contemplate everything it meant to be sat in my seat. All the excitement and fear that was bubbling up to the surface. Or the fact I’d soon be half-way across the world in a foreign land, unable to speak the language. It seems almost strange someone would put themselves in such a situation, far outside the boundaries of what is comfortable. But alas, there I was either a brave man or a fool! Although I know I’d like to believe I am more brave than foolish. What was abundantly clear to me was that I was about to experience a lot of firsts, and to do so I was going to have to throw myself into it all.
After an uneventful and uninteresting flight of deep contemplation and films I had finally arrived, a weary eyed traveler. Here I was, in Shanghai! My life has always fluctuated between a strong direction and none at all. But at no point unt my recent history had I ever imagined I’d be in a place like this. On the other side of immigration, waiting for me at arrivals, were my Aunt and Uncle, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. They had kindly offered to house me for the duration of my stay in China, something I am most certainly grateful for. Something, it seems, that has put me in a rather unique position from other people my age setting off on an adventure largely/loosely based on a teaching role. I am lucky enough to have the safety net of family. Of course that is just an assumption based on what I’ve read; my circumstance could be a lot more common place than I know. But that’s neither here nor there.
What is important is that I here, I made it, and it is all about to begin!

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