China, What is it to Me?

About two months ago, I applied to be a part of a trip to China at invitation of the Chinese government.  This trip, called “Discovering China”, is a one time only trip being hosted as a thank you for assistance given to Chinese students following the huge Sichuan earthquake in may of 2008.  With the exception of flight costs, it is an all expense paid trip, and should prove to be an amazing experience, especially given our status as guests of the government.  Prior to my acceptance into this program, I had been trying for nearly a year and a half to get over the China to continue my studies, but found that I was simply confounded by numerous issues, the most dominant being financial.  Although I was accepted to study at a Chinese university in Beijing for a semester, my plans were thwarted by the arrival of complete economic collapse and subsequent escalation of loan costs.  Traveling was just not in the cards.  I also spent several weeks working on an application for the CSC scholarship, a year long scholarship provided by China to students looking to spend time studying Mandarin and other courses within China.  Although this seemed to be a great and generally unknown method of funding, it turned out that the competition was low simply because no one knew where to send their applications once they had them completed.  I suspect that many of the errant applications followed an ill fated path into the circular file.  Following this attempt, I decided to hold my trip abroad until after I had finished my degree, and for the most part I am happy to have made such a decision.  The summer brought about a number of great realizations in regard to myself and my true interests and goals.  I by no means had a revelation of any sort, but rather came to conclusions about what I don’t want to be (Still want success, don’t want to be a track-bound businessman).  I was overjoyed to receive the news that I would be going to China in December and January, but now find myself wondering what on earth I will do once the program is completed.  China has always been large, and finding that I am finally going makes it suddenly seem so much the larger.  Aside from a disinterest in leaving what would seem to be the beginnings of a great romance, I can’t fight my general concern about my plans as a whole.  I want to have China as a path for business and the future, but I certainly don’t want to be bound to the physical location.  I say this now with the full awareness that I have the not infrequent tendency to try and predict my likes and dislikes before they happen, but I am disconcerted by the fact that I am unable to see how long my time abroad will last.  I never thought that I would miss the U.S., but I can’t help but see what I am leaving behind for the time.  Don’t get me wrong, I am beyond excited.  It is just a very large change to try and process.  This is not only the attainment of a long sought after goal, but also a departure from one chapter of this life and the entry into the next.  What I can do with this seems unlimited,  and I believe that this is what scares me.

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