Obviously “Why?” was a toughie, and I promise more answers to that one over time, so instead I will try and answer some simpler questions.
Who? Most folks seem to assume I have family there (or even that I’m “going back”!!). But nope – not at all. The closest family I have are quite a few hours away in a village in Canton, and are actually not at all that close (they are related rather distantly — cousin/cousins-in-law of my late grandfather), and I’ve only met them once – back during my first (and only) visit (so far) to the Motherland in Summer 2006. All of my family (and by this, I only count family from Mom’s side) emigrated en masse in 1966 (from Hong Kong) in a group comprised of three families.
Any friends? Well, with the exception of my former colleague Vicky, nope – not at all. I’ve been preparing some connections through friends of mine here who know people there, but that’s it. And hey – if you want to make a connection for me – I’m all up for it!
What? So did you get a job there? What are you going to do? Well so far I have one job application that Vicky ushered me through in progress, but even that actually may be on the Mainland; in addition is another I sent off myself not long ago with an Australian firm in HK. I also have some headhunters prepping to get me going once jobs start to pop up in the Fall, but nothing is otherwise active. If I get a job – fine, but it’s not my goal exactly.
The plan otherwise is to enroll in the Fall intensive programme for Mandarin at the Chinese University of Hong Kong’s Chinese Language Center. I looked at the placement exam and I’m either Level 4 or 5 of five levels (5 being business Chinese). Ideally I will finish my education to the highest level – which would be a useful skill these days (with China owning most of the US now). This means I will either place into level 5 and take one semester, or take two semesters if I don’t.
Class is 3 hours a day x 5 days a week x 15 weeks, and the program includes an outing and obviously a wonderful university setting out in the New Territories. What’s also nice is that this program (or programme as they say in HK) gives me a lot of free time to write (still going to keep banging out my book proposal for the Eulogy Project), blog (duh!), explore and travel (hopefully will visit my sister out in Taiwan whenever I can — she is starting her Fulbright ETA program beginning August 1, and fly off to many other sites throughout Asia), eat, and of course ruminate and energize!
I’d always regretted that I never studied abroad (two of my three sisters have, and obviously enjoyed it and grew from it), and whose fantasy isn’t it to live in a foreign country? The problem is, if you miss out on an opportunity when you’re say in high school or college or grad school, it seems there hardly is ever a good chance to do it. So voila!
When? Either way, job or no job, my estimated departure will be September 2009. Class begins on September 7 (still tentative according to the website, however), and I should probably leave about a week or so prior to get myself into some sort of temporary housing (either with a friend of a friend, at a hostel, or the YMCA) to hit the ground running to find myself a proper sublet or apartment.
Those are solid answers right?