Hey. Did you know the Patriots won the Super Bowl?

Because Josh and I sure did:

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“Hang on, Dad’s driving”

I’ve finally made it to Michigan, where ‘pop’ means soda, ‘sucker’ means lollipop, and my cousins call me ‘Jahn’ with their indecipherable accents.

'Pop' recycling

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Summer Update

I’ve been home for just over three months now. A fair amount has happened since I got back.

-I applied to ~25 jobs, and heard back from none of them.
-I taught a 4 week summer camp for ELL students at my former high school. We had class in the mornings, traveled all around Maine, and had a great time. I lived in the dorms with about 15 of these exchange students with the camp director and another teacher my age.
There were also two other groups there for the first half of our camp: 20 kids and a chaperones from Shenzhen, China, and 30 kids and 3 chaperones from all around Kazakhstan. It was a blast meeting these kids.
-I then got a part time job (every other day) during the school year working with the first year foreign students as a tutor/ study hall advisor.
-I’m also working 3 days a week at the Service Desk at my local gym. I make smoothies, chat with members, and fold and wash towels. And get a free membership. And would like to eventually move up into administration at a gym.
-Lastly, I’m taking Spanish and Chinese at the high school on the days I don’t work. I can “sit in” on classes as faculty so I figured why not take advantage of it!?

Now some pictures to entertain you:

I realize this post is lacking my usual wit but honestly I’m quite out of practice when it comes to writing. I’m sure you’ll all forgive me however, just like in a few months we’ll all forget that anything bad happened with the NFL. Only good things can come from sports, right?!

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I’m back! In America that is. And I have been for about 6 weeks now.

I spent some time visiting my family in Michigan, then I saw my friends and family in Boston, then I came back to sunny Saco, Maine.

In Michigan I spent some time with my cousins the “East Side Crew” – Cousins Susie, Debbie, and Renee, and her son Jeremy). They wanted to take me into Detroit, and as Debbie kept saying, show me that things weren’t as bad as everyone says they are.

And to my shock and surprise, it really wasn’t bad at all.

I ate plenty of food and saw about 90% of my family out there.

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The End?

I have always known that China was a part of my journey, not the destination. I was never sure how long it would last but I knew that I would not stay forever. With much pleasure and sorrow I realize that my time here has drawn to a close.

Teaching has been challenging yet rewarding; frustrating yet fun. The people I have met along the way are all wonderful people and I wish them the best of luck in China and wherever else their own journey’s take them. Perhaps we’ll cross paths again sometime. *For some of these people, I will go far out of my way to make sure we cross paths again.

To be honest, I wrote the bulk of this post on August 25th, 2013, not even two weeks after I had arrived in China. At the time of writing I was still very unsure as to when I would be leaving China and what I would be doing next. Heck, I hadn’t even taught a class yet! I know you’re probably thinking “wow Jon is crazy, he was already trying to figure out what to do six months from then and he hadn’t even spent a full two weeks there!”

What can I say? I can’t help it. I like to think. Muse. Contemplate. Ponder. Ruminate. I spent countless hours sitting on my little window bench on couch cushions staring at the river and the people and the cars going by and wondering about life. It’s hard for me not to, really.

I know that I like this city (*kind of). There is a lot of stuff to do (*kind of), even if it’s just people watching from my air conditioned apartment. The food is wonderful (did you really think I wouldn’t mention food at least once?) and while I will miss the food and my friends the most, I take solace in two ideas: the fact that good food is universal- you just have to know where to look-, and that communication is global. As you all know firsthand, I have documented every aspect of this trip and kept in personal contact with many friends and family members from home. Who’s to say that the same cannot be done with the people I’ve met here? And next time they’re in Maine or I’m in their city, we’ll meet up and reminisce. I can take solace in the fact that I can leave China but China cannot leave me.

I titled this post “The End?” because while it is the end of my time in China, it is not the end of my adventure. I will probably take a break for a while, but I will be back with another trip to tell you all about.

Thank you for reading, commenting, and encouraging me. As much as (I hope) you have enjoyed this, I have enjoyed you.


* Denotes recent additions. Also, I’m already in Michigan and would like to apologize for the late posting. I would have liked to have posted this before I left, but I didn’t have internet.

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