Friday, April 27, 2007

Travel and Homesickness

For anyone who has lived outside their own country for any length of time, homesickness is something they are familiar with. I have not been home in over four years. That is one of the reasons why I am so happy to get mail from friends and family. This photo was sent to me by my brother and shows the Tulip Festival in Western Washington where my family lives. Acres and acres of tulips and other flowers as well. The rush of color is awesome and the natural beauty is surely something I miss about the Great Northwest. I have some posts with some beautiful flowers from my vacation in Sanya, Hainan. Now another Chinese Holiday is nearly upon us. Workers day, or May day is a week long holiday for many in China. It holds perhaps more significance here than in other parts of the world given China's history and political structure.

For teachers in China it is a welcomed break, a time for travel, or just chilling out for a while. For me it's somewhat different as the parents of my students want their children to have classes during this time. So it can be even busier than other times. That is good since I have been looking at some real estate recently. So many teachers bemoan the low salaries in China but few take on the steps to insure their own prosperity. I have been fortunate but I also took the risks, so I feel I am reaping the rewards of my labor. Even if you are teaching at another school you could include in your contract the possibility of working on your own. Or if you don't mind being a little clandestine about it, just do it. Many teachers in private language schools have heavy weekend schedules and free time during the week, many receive an apartment as part of their compensation, so with a minimal investment you could easily bank 12-15 thousand per year with one or two classes per week.

Reading is so fundamental to language development and most Chinese students read at a much higher level than they speak, which is normal for anyone studying a second language. In that regard, I just wanted to say how deeply touched I was at the passing of one of America's great writers, Kurt Vonnegut Jr., my favorite author. If you are interested in what I have to say about him please visit one of my other blogs. Worldtour P.O.V. at


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