Happy Halloween to all y’all in the states. I’ve been enjoying your costume pics on facebook this morning, my morning of Nov 1st, your evening of Oct 31. Halloween is not a thing in China, at least not on the university campus I reside currently, but I see enough masks and false personalities every day to make up for not having one. Also, someone please eat a Reese’s PBCup/York PPattie sammich for me.

I moved into a new apartment. I’ll probably only be living there for half the week. It’s not too far from campus, but I have early class a few days a week and I want to be as close to them as possible when I wake in the morning. The apartment is new and unused, and for the price, a great deal. I’m moving in with a colleague, Raphael. He’s the French teacher from Germany. His wife is the reason we found such a nice place, being Chinese, she has the legitimacy and connections to talk her way into the deal we have now. It’s an open space, two bedrooms with queen size beds, a bathroom with shower and hot water heater, a living room with a long corner couch, a kitchen with a duel top gas stove, and an office/spare room. It has hot water, electricity, heat, internet (now installed and super cheap and really fast) and all far more reliable than at the university. There is a problem with my VPN service functionality on that internet service, which is confounding because there is no problem with it here, but I’m sure I’ll figure something out. So now I have a QUIET place to lay low when I need it.

I started teaching a new class. I’m now teaching other teachers. I was surprised that on the first day they were just as shy as the students in my other classes. It seems that isn’t just a function of the young, it might be more cultural.

Assigning papers is easy, grading papers is hard, and as I’ve been assigned to teach “Oral English”, I’m going to just discontinue the writing of papers that have to be graded. Props to all my teachers who have graded piles and piles of papers, I don’t know how you stayed on task for so long. I’ve also been told to relax a little more, that expectations of me are much lower than my expectations of myself, and I need to do less work and enjoy myself a little more.

Learned some discouraging things about starting a business here. One really important thing about business here, if you can do it, someone else can copy it and do it for half the price, and put you out of business. Also, if you don’t have a Chinese partner, you will not get any business.

I started daydreaming about the future again, dreams of starting this business, where I’m going to live when I get home and with who, generally what I’m going to do once I get home, but by doing this it removes me from where I am and what I’m doing now. I really enjoy planning things and I enjoy dreaming up all the fun I will have when I get home, but I realize that it is taking away from my experience here and now, and I need to focus on what I’m doing here to really enjoy it and to get the most out of this experience.

I’ve been drawing a little bit recently, and moving words around, I might be feeling a small creative surge, and if continues I think it could bring me a lot of joy. A friend reminded me of novel writing November, so I’ll try to do a little writing each day and see what happens.

There are a lot of things I need to work on here, mainly within myself, to be present and get the most out of my experience here, but moving to a new country and teaching for the first time, it takes a lot out of you. I expect the next couple months to be just as challenging. I’m hoping by next semester I’ll have a lot more sorted out and I’ll have more free time for fun or maybe another job and earn some more monies. I get a nice long vacation between semesters, somewhere in the 6-8 weeks range, which starts somewhere around the new year (our new year not the Chinese new year). If anyone happens to be in China in this area in January or February, stop on by.

Be well.


    1. There is currently a serious lack of quality outdoor clothing and gear out-and-about and I want to put those standards back on the market. I’m someone that lives on a certain rugged level of day-to-day living that requires either quality work or outdoor clothing. When I do work or outdoor related things, these types of “quality” clothing don’t stand up to the challenge, and for the money I pay for them I expect better, and I expect there are other people in the world who feel the same.
      I’d like to create a company that takes custom orders of an array of preset designs for primarily backpacks, but also shoes, pants, jackets and other outdoor gear. I want this company to pride itself on durability, reliability and practicality. I’ve been brainstorming ideas for the past few years, thinking maybe some other company would put more useful gear on the market, but it hasn’t happened. I’ve also been thinking maybe it would be easier to just join another company and help with design input for them, but I don’t know which would be harder, joining the design team of a well-known outdoor clothing company with no relevant credentials or starting my own company. So I figure dream big.
      I have decided on a name, and I’ve been slowly learning about different materials over the past couple years. I’d like to take classes on business when I get back home to get some more insight on what I need to do to get things rolling. I know a lot of people in many places of life, and once I have a clearer vision and plan of exactly what I’m doing I expect some of those people might be interested in helping me out.
      I’m someone who feels driven to make and create, I dream endlessly of everything I wish would become reality, so giving myself a professional outlet is a necessity. If this company doesn’t ever happen, it’ll suck, but it won’t break my heart, because I will never stop making and creating whatever I dream up on my spare time.

  1. sherry

    Dan, what about becoming a distributor of LL Bean’s (of Freeport, ME) in China? don’t know if there is one already or not, but the kind of clothing and gear sounds like what you’d find on their website. It wouldn’t solve the custom-made part of it though. Just heard about your blog from Paul – glad to hear about your experiences over there – and I agree that you need to focus on now and not the future – I think the expression is “be here now”, but it’s only human to want to plan. Best Wishes, Sherry

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