Trip Start Aug 25, 2010
Trip End Jan 12, 2016

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Flag of China  , Hunan,
Sunday, August 29, 2010

Ruth and I are soul mates in our adventurous spirits. Even in high school we did foreign exchange trips, her from Cranbrook, B.C., Canada, to Paris France. Me from Eugene, Oregon to Mexico City. It was my first memory outside of Oregon. After high school, my brother helped me come visit him in Germany, where I lived with him and his wife Gayle, for 6 months, in Berghulen. Then back home I became a Peace Corps volunteer to Paraguay. That started January 1, 1975 with 10 days in Miami then 3 months just north of San Jose, Costa Rica, in San Antonio de Belen. In Paraguay I started in Caazapa, then moved out to the Mennonite Colonies in the Chaco and their Mision La Esperanza to the Sanapana & Lengua people. When the economy fell apart in 1982, I joined the army and ended up spending a year at Defense Language Institute in Monterey, Ca, studying all things Greek. Then a 1 year assignment in and around Athens. What a life! Then I settled down for awhile, and just did a few hops to Mexico (Cabo then Puerta Vallarta) and trips around the US. In 2002 I became a police officer for the North Slope Borough of Alaska, and moved the family up to Barrow, then Point Lay. They lasted a year in that harsh, rugged yet beautiful in it's own way environment. I kept going back for more, and worked 2006-2008 in Point Hope. A few years ago, Ruth & I got to do our biggest joint trip, 10 days in Israel, followed by almost a week in Greece and then a few days in Belgium visiting friends. That's us in a travel blog nut shell.

We became empty nesters a few years ago and when the big earthquake hit Haiti in January (we support a young man there, via Compassion International) we turned our attention once again outward. We determined Haiti was just too unstable and too much a challenge, and thanks to our #1 ESL research site Dave's ESL Cafe http:// www.eslcafe.com/ we looked seriously at Indonesia. Then for various reasons, we settled on China. There are so many things to consider before doing something like this, so we researched and contemplated. I then started the 100 hour Ontesol course, which at times challenged me to almost quit, but as long as I had time (there's a 3 month deadline) I was determined. Once it was clear I was passing, we thought to seriously begin looking for possible employment, even though Ruth hadn't yet begun the Ontesol course.

On June 18th I saw an titled "Couple for Changsha" - "a downtown college needs couple in September." Compensation seemed decent, all things considered and to get our foot in the door, we were looking for a streamlined path. I e-mailed the recruiter a light hearted inquiry, mentioning our ages and experience. Shawn replied the same day "No problem. Please send us...." This was too easy, even though we had nothing he asked for, except my previous U of O diploma. Over the following days and weeks Shawn kept nicely pestering for this and that. I sent him Ruth's old resume, not a Curricula Vitae (CV). Shawn simply asked her to put a few dates on it and next thing we knew we had the physical forms and work permit applications, just before leaving on a 2 week RV vacation to visit family in Canada. Shawn actually called me in Canada and I assured him our doctors had the physicals and he'd have them ASAP. It seemed forever, but a mere 2 weeks after starting the process, youhoolee (some good stories go with the name) e-mailed us from the Hunan University (formerly college) of Finance & Economics with contracts and appendices. Whew- a lot to process. Back home from vacation, my doc signed off on the forms, fairly completely. Ruth's Dr put in a lot of "Not Done" and we sent everything back to China. A few days later we were told the paperwork had been submitted to local officials and if all went well.... A few days later we were told our work permit and visa applications were in the mail. As we were told, they arrived a week later. We opted to pay China Visa Service to process the visas, so once we had everything, it was FedExed overnight to the San Francisco office. They called me the next morning that I was supposed to have include a copy of our physicals and Ruth's "green card". They accepted the scanned & emailed copies as had China. The following day everything (meaning the required Z visa affixed to our passports, with instructions to check in with the police for residence registration) was on it's way back to us. That's when I knew it was time to move forward and buy the airline ticket and put in for my Oregon retirement benefits, pittance though it might be. Ruth's vesting date with Intel is September 12, so we got permission from China for her to come later, but definitely in September. Just before coming to China, I finally booked Ruth's flight out of Vancouver, B.C. on Wednesday, September 15th, via Air China. She'll fly direct to Beijing, have a 2 hour layover and catch another Air China flight to Changsha, cutting 9 hours of my travel time.

And now back to the present...
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James H on

Mike, Hope you are doing well. Sounds like you are having a good time.
Looking forward to reading more about your adventure!
Stay safe buddy.

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