Last night, my students from four semesters of teaching English in a Chinese university, friends and fellow teachers in Dagang heard our family’s story — our dream to drive around the world with its PhD component. I’ve been preparing the plans for a year, the PhD part for four months but I realized yesterday evening that this dream has been planted in my husband’s and my heart way before that and destiny has been conspiring for much longer than we imagined.
After hearing the explanation to over sixty slides, my students who were used to my hyperactive style, for the first time, got to hear my much calmer husband, Jason speak. He answered a number of questions more lengthily than I expected and had the students laughing many times.
Jason said that before he met me, he was thinking of backpacking around the world. If I didn’t meet him, I’d be a volunteer in Africa and wished to live in as many countries as I can. I wanted to ride the bus from the westernmost town of Xinjiang to Pakistan and then Afghanistan. Those dreams changed after I got married and had children.
Another student asked me if I ever wanted to become a billionaire and I replied, most of my life, I didn’t think money was important until the period before and after I got married and had children. Previously, I was happy working for causes I loved and fortunate all my jobs were psychologically although not financially rewarding. Before that I wanted to be Mother Theresa, solve poverty and change the world until I realized there was more work to be done on myself. In a surprisingly odd 360 degree turn, I aspired to be Bill Gates — that is Bill Gates before he aimed to be a kind of Mother Theresa himself.
As that song from Pippin goes, dreams have a funny way of sticking to your soul. The dream to explore the world never let go of Jason and me. Jason explained that people become different from the ordinary when they have a dream and that it’s important that you trust in something. One student captured last night’s spirit best when she marveled at how lucky my husband and I are to have found each other.
For days, I’ve been eagerly looking forward to posting a video of my talk on Youtube and Youku. When I got home and watched the raw footages, I was disappointed because the sound quality was poor. There’s only one angle taken from a distance and no close-ups plus I tremendously hate the sound of my voice. Someday, I still wish there could be an upload-worthy video but for now, instead of a Youtube link, here is the Slideshare link of my presentation: