On A Pale Blue Dot

Greetings, reader. It's a hot and lazy Tuesday afternoon - a perfect time to spend an hour writing while sipping on a tall can of STOUTBEER. If only the after-taste was better, I'd drink them more often. Wait- perhaps it's a blessing in disguise...

Teaching has been tolerable for the last month, but my patience is slowly-but-surely waning with regards to my school. After passing an exam of advanced English grammar, some basic Chinese and other organizational topics, I was given the choice of extra monthly income or reduced hours. Since I live like a king already here (with a salary worth 4x the median), I asked for the free time - essentially one less class. I'm now contractually obligated to 20 hours of teaching per week, which doesn't sound like much, but when factoring in all the preparations, drives to-and-fro, and miscellaneous downtime - it adds up to a significant (and unfortunately fragmented) chunk of time. Yet, I've been teaching overtime nearly half the time. I suppose it's cheaper to pay out overtime than to have an extra teacher or two around, but to me it seems quite disingenuous, especially since we have only one guaranteed free day per week.

It's fine, though. I can work and study for 6 months straight, then head out on yet another journey. I've entertained the thought of acquiring a motorcycle with my ample savings and riding to Europe or India, keeping my own "Motorcycle Diaries." I (with a hearty helping of thousands of nutritious opinions every day - thanks, Internet!) have convinced myself that it makes more sense to do all of this traveling while younger instead of older, as I'd be more fit for it and the things I experience will challenge and change my naive self. If I waited until I was older, maybe these opinions would be less malleable and I'd find myself instead always defending my own ways and disregarding the others.

I find it humorous and disappointing that the status quo for most people seems to be the opposite: work hard while young, then retire and enjoy yourself then. What if I get hit by a bus when I'm 40? I'd feel pretty stupid for not having seen the world (let alone the bus) first. I imagine the readers who are already invested into this lifestyle are fishing for arguments to challenege my reasoning - I can understand, don't worry. You've got your life and I've got mine; all that matters is that we can find happiness, right? My path certainly isn't yours, or you'd be sitting half-naked in a chair in a dusty apartment in China, finishing off a black beer of questionable quality.

If you ever want to rediscover a sense of wonderment in yourself on a lonely night, I suggest downloading Google Earth and exploring all the remote islands and desert wastelands you can spot. (Even outside of the realm of adventure, it's an immensely useful tool.) If that isn't enough to humble your mind, you can graduate to this musing.

As always, there's more to say, but now isn't the time.
I wish you luck in life and love.

...well, just as long as you don't know the same girl I do ;)

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