This week is one of preparation. Travel immunizations on Monday, a dermatology appointment yesterday and dental work on Thursday: all in the name of readying myself for Singapore.
Yet proper physical bricklaying does not an apt traveler make; my mental readiness currently leaves much to be desired.
I know teaching biology at an established polytechnic for a year or more is too great an opportunity to sidestep. I also know that my experiences exploring Southeast Asia will be some of the best of my life. Nevertheless, another part of me wonders about the aspects of this American life that will leave me pining for my childhood land across the Pacific. What can I say? There’s something about preparing to buy a one-way plane ticket that brings out the pensive in me.
I am lucky in the fact that this summer has provided ample opportunity for me to see most if not all of my close loved ones before my departure. As my mid-September flight date draws nigh, however, inevitable final goodbye moments are starting to arise in true Johnny D fashion.
As many have reminded me, traveling in this generation is different than traveling twenty years ago. Physical interaction can be substituted, if not quite adequately replaced, with instant messaging, skype, and email. For this, I am grateful.
But how will I instant message the fall colors? How will I skype with the Matthis’ sledding hill? How can email allow for late night star gazing?
As is likely apparent, distant loved ones are not my only concern. My current preoccupation is actually the natural beauty of Michigan that I will soon be vacating. Watching the sun set over Lake Michigan as I did last night seems to evoke a sense of ponderous awe in me for the place in which I adolesced.
The year-long 90 degree humidity of Singapore is the aspect of my new home for which I am least excited. What is October without orange leaves and apple cider? What is Christmas without the season’s first snowfall? Armpit stains and sunburn may be two of my least favorite things in the world.
Still I know, these are small sacrifices to make for the chance to follow young Calvin’s sanguine advice to explore the world. http://abettingman.wordpress.com/2009/10/27/its-a-magical-world/
Calvin and Hobbes, my little philosophers, often help to reinforce my major life decisions; this circumstance is no exception. Because I will certainly not have a big white snowy sheet of paper on which to draw, the vibrancy of Asian culture will have to be my artist adding texture to a human portrait already begun. Perhaps this will be just the right amount of change for just the right amount of time so as to sharpen my appreciation for the good things in life.
Besides, it would appear that I can vicariously enjoy a winter wonderland or a brisk autumn day anytime I want by means of a precocious six-year-old and his stuffed tiger.
Thanks to scooterz03, A Betting Man, and Bill Watterson for the Calvin and Hobbes images.