Why do I keep using Match.com and such and contacting people from across the country that I will probably never meet? I get all excited to meet someone handsome, and then inevitably, I or they get bored of the email-tag and cut it off. I’ve met MAYBE 1% of the people I’ve talked to online…And considering I’ve maybe 10 penpals scattered across the planet as a result of online dating (none of whom I’ve actually met), that gives you an idea of the "success" rate of online dating.  Texting with a guy from NYC at the moment…F’ing New Yorkers; too hip to write emails; texts are their preferred means of communication. And I hate all of the pop culture references I don’t get; it’s just awkward lol.

Well, in other news, I had my interview with Mr. Gao and I’ve been reviewing the contract and considering my options for China. BUT that’s actually not what I want to write about right now. I’m…Far more uncertain now than I have been in a very long time. Because I see so many potential paths in front of me offering me happiness in varied forms…In China, I have a place to stay, a well paying job, and an unexplored continent in front of me…In Austin, I have a familiar, exciting city, friends whom I care for, possibilities with decent jobs in both the City of Austin’s park ranger division and American Youthworks’ teaching staff as a science teacher/teacher’s aide…And, suddenly, a return to Buffalo just became a possibility. It turns out the Civil Service exam, which I took three years ago and scored very well in (though not well enough) is rolling around again in January. Which means I could potentially get the job I’ve been gunning for, for more than a little while now; Forest Ranger 1 with the park service…The irony is, I practically had the position in the palm of my hands when I was a college intern…But I was hardly career-oriented then. Not to mention, I’d not have been to Austin or New Zealand, had I been.

I see myself on Mount Tai in Jinan, practicing my Mandarin with a Taoist sage over noodles…

I see myself with a warm apartment, a truck, an aquarium, and a dark haired guy cuddling on the couch with me watching the Discovery Channel while the snow falls in December.

I’m on a crowded ferry in Indonesia trying not to get pushed overboard, looking through glass clear water at reef sharks trailing us.

I’m on a bus in Austin going downtown for karaoke night at Ego’s after a half day teaching, before going back to my swank apartment off of Barton Creek.

I want it all, but I can’t. At least not all at once…Buffalo is contingent on a lot of things falling into place; and ironically, it’s far cheaper for me to relocate to China than it is for me to move back to New York…Need a car, an apartment, a good paying job…All of which is up in the air. Jinan has an excellent bus system, my place is paid for, my money will go very far there…Austin is…Austin. I’d eventually get my own place, the weather is amazing, the city is bustling and I know it well enough to be comfortable here, and I have great friends I’d love to keep around me…It’s the uncertainty I hate most. Though with Jinan, I will be able to try in earnest what I’ve always wanted to do; an overseas trip in a truly foreign land. NZ was interesting and different, but not at all difficult for an American to adjust to, even being in a Buddhist monastery. China is chock-full of cultural differences and most of the people do not even speak my language. This would be the kind of challenge I’ve dreamed about; and even if everything I were to ever desire in NY were to come true, I would hate myself for not facing the challenge of China now and not having the opportunity to do it ever again, despite all of my talk about avoiding careers and suffering through lack of income to make this happen…

Categories: china, musings, UncategorizedTags:


  1. Hi Earl!! ::waves:: I thought I’d offer my two cents. I don’t want to necessarily talk you out of the China thing–it could be an awesome experience–but have you considered the sort of regime you’d be living under? I know China is far more open now than ever before, but there are still certain limits to consider, especially because you’ll be far away from home in a foreign country, such as: what would you be able to access of the internet? to write/post? to say out loud, or to friends? could you be openly gay there? Maybe you’ve already considered all of those things and more, but I just thought I’d put it out there.

    • Yeaa…

      Hey Jackie!


      I have thought about these things…A lot. Big Brother is definitely real there and I’m very much aware that liberal speech can be crushed, and I’m not naive enough to believe my American passport will necessarily save me if I do “break the law.” In fact, I might garner additional attention because of it.

      I’ve been lookinginto the websites that are banned…Facebook is one of them. So my Livejournal will have to be a primary means…Going to probably have to start a photoblog section of this Livejournal too – I’m pretty sure that’s possible.

      Openly gay is another thing that I’ve been mulling over…I will functionally be the only black guy there – and from what I hear, your business is all out there when you’re a foreigner because EVERYONE is watching you. Out of friendly curiosity, granted. But still…If I walk into a gay bar, I do NOT want half the city knowing that; that’s frankly a bit TOO open. And there’s a very real possibility that it could affect my job if it came back around, because I’ll be dealing with children.

      Basically the same fears and concerns parents have here about gays around their kids. Won’t waste space talking about how ridiculous this is. I will say that it hasn’t even been 10 years since China took homosexuality off it’s list of “mental disorders,” so yea…It will be a legitimate issue.

      But I also think it will be a genuinely grand learning experience, living in a regime that’s not exactly totalitarian, but hardly liberal in the Western sense. I’ll have a much better picture of how different people cope with different aspects of life and overall, I think I can survive a year (or two) without Youtube, Facebook, or Google. Maybe. (c;

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