Friday, February 3, 2017

Chasing the $$$

How much is enough? Lets be clear most of the people I know, grew up with, associate with and are in my orbit are not suffering financially. None of us are wealthy by the standard definition of that term in Western society but nobody is suffering. Everyone works and has worked at decent jobs and like the rest of the world we have all had financial bumps along the way.

I look now and see people with mortgage free homes, pension and RRSP accounts that are fat (the markets have been generous the last 25 years) plus a solid paycheck arriving at it's regular scheduled time. I do not know everyone's situation but I constantly hear how "broke" everyone is. Seriously broke? This is worked into the conversation about overspending on Christmas, a new car payment and the high cost of petrol, a vacation that was just taken or an series of activities including dinners and lunches and decent restaurants. I am awed by the the perpetual chase for $$$ that thrives in our world then only to be spent on things you do not need to impress people you do not like. When I hear the term "retail therapy" I completely shut down. Anyways this is what much of my exposure has been back in Canada. Everyone has a different life and life choices and I sure a shit do not have any of the answers but I do know that one day the road will run out.

I am now about 2 weeks from "wheels up" to Xi'an. I have had to wait for the Chinese New Year celebrations to cease plus the general bureaucracy of China to get all my documents in order for me. These include my working visa plus my letter of invitation from the Chinese Government, so I wait.  "It is happening" are the best words that I hear when I start to lose my grip on being patience. A dose of positive reality always goes a long way.

I have been hammering away at basic Mandarin. I am not saying it is easy but it is not as daunting as you would think. I understand the 4 tones plus the neutral tone plus as I said before I have a great Pinyin chart to babysit me through pronunciation. I now have my 6 month subscription to I have also found  Popup Chinese that has a huge list of free podcasts which I can practice my listening skills which was one of the most difficult things for me when learning Spanish. Of course there is my nightly one hour live lesson with Olivia from Xi'an so with all of these tools I can keep myself occupied without overloading myself.

I have made a basic list of places I want to visit in China and have expanded that to places I want to travel to while I am in Asia. Aside from the beat path countries of Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia I want to find my way into North Korea, Papau New Guinea, Mongolia, Tibet and I will absolutely head on the two week trek to the Everest Base Camp in Nepal. There are countless countries in the area that are calling my name an my goal is to visit and spend time in at least 20 of them....but for now I patiently wait.

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