Before setting off on my travels (will get to that next post), I planned on giving myself some time before teaching started to formulate “the next step”. I was going to have fourteen days to try and figure out what exactly I am going to do after my contract finishes this June.

Well, that day came and for the last fourteen days I have been in Hangzhou spending significant amounts of time with this outside

and this inside

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Does anybody ever feel certain about their “next step”? It’s a leap of faith right; to do something that in theory is supposed to move you “up the ladder” of life and push you to be a better, more productive person. You have worked hard to get to this point and understand the basics, but there are a couple new curveballs that make you anxious.


It always feels uncertain at first. It’s like that first day of the second or third trimester of high school. You get all excited for the new classes, new teachers etc. The classes are usually harder because they are the next level, but you have been working hard and feel prepared since you started them first semester.

What you forget about, until about 3rd period of course, is that fearful lunch period. You scramble the next two periods asking ALL of your friends which lunch period they are in so you can figure out who / where you are going to sit at lunch. Nobody wants to sit by themselves, and NO ONE wants to be the person who “can’t fit” at THEE lunch table.

This is how I feel. I’m scrambling for my lunch table.

After my contract ends I’ll be moving to Shanghai in July. The last couple months I have been working with two other guys creating an online high school pre-departure course for Chinese students so they can prepare to study in an American high school. Last week, a big education company in Shanghai bought the program and they want to create taped episodes and have them for sale on their website. We start taping next week with yours truly being the teacher Bill Nye the American preparation guy (need to think of something more clever…)

From there, we are offering a full 1 year pre-departure online course for Chinese students. We have three full-time certified teachers teaching 9th grade science, math, language arts, and US history to Chinese students wishing to study in an American high school. We have 100 students already and growing!

This is awesome news! I am totally excited about it! But, my lunch period is approaching and I have questions…

Who am I going to live with? How easy / hard will it be to make friends? Will I be able to go home for Christmas? Will studying Chinese be more difficult in Shanghai? What if it fails? What if it succeeds and does so well that it makes it hard to quit and go back home? and many more…

But it’s all the same for everyone right? Doesn’t matter if you are in China, London, Inver Grove Heights, or St. Peter. The older you get, the more responsibilities you have, the more choices you have to make, the harder decisions become.

While my uncertainties are a little more serious than lunch period in high school, I am much more relaxed about them (I think). Everything happens for a reason and all we can do is keep on pushing. I am blessed to have this opportunity and I can’t wait to get started.

I just don’t want to be a Bob Zilisch