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Thursday, July 21, 2005


Now please do not feel sorry for me. My girlfriend is sitting in the other room sewing some clothes for me. I just had a nice meal that my dad cooked and the weather was nice, with a rare breeze and a light rain, and for just a few minutes we could forget that across the US temperatures are far enough above average that people are dying. I ate some great pizza at lunch today, and even though I had invited my friend, he forced the waitress to take his credit card, so I was left with paying the tip (and Michael, I am paying next time). We visited my grandpa in the hospital and he continues to do better, having gained 17 pounds in the last few weeks, and to be in much greater spirits. I mean, this was a nice day.

And yet, something is nagging me. It is the future. The immediate and midterm future. Now I know that there is no point in fretting about everything because things just seemt to happen of their own accord anyway, but still...People keep asking where my girlfriend and I will live and what we will do and beyond saying that I'm going to get really good at Chinese (and maybe study in Taipei at one of the unis there, or try for a grad program in the US, but who really knows) but what will that lead to? Something good, I assure myself by way of assuring others. Do I believe it though? Is it bad when I say the answer is I think so?

And then there is the little matter of taking a five month trip in Asia. Now again, no pity parties here, but damn if looking at maps isn't driving me nuts. Now, if you look at a map of China and southeast Asia, you can see there is quite a bit of ground to cover - and it is not always possible (in fact, it is not often possible) to cover that ground quickly. Now, let's say I spend two plus months in China. Will I be able to visit Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Burma (Myanmar) and Malaysia (and probably Thailand, at least in passing)? No f'ing way. So, let's look at that map again. On one side, we have Vietnam stretching down away from China. It borders several other countries, and going there would surely allow me to visit at least Laos, possibly Angkor Wat, and cross Thailand to go to Malaysia. Of course, this would mean less than three weeks in each place, and would probably mean being relegated to peninsular Malaysia, or scratching Cambodia or Laos out altogether. To get to Burma (Myanmar)would shrink all of those visits even further, lessening the opportunities to just stop and appreciate things the way they deserve to be appreciated.

On the other side, there is Burma (Myanmar), supposedly accessible by one land border crossing from China (and if anybody knows if that is still open, could you give me a holler?). Now, choosing this route would allow for some quality time in Burma, southern Thailand (although parts of southern Thailand may not be so appealing at the moment) and Malaysia. As I've been to Laos and Cambodia already, I would not be too crushed about missing out on going there, but I would be very bummed about missing out on Vietnam.

I am very well aware that as far as issues to be having, mine are rather enviable. Having said that, in relation to my personality (and with full acknowlegment of my great fortune to be born into a middle class family and to exit college with no debt), it kind of sucks.

The worst part of it is, even if I had a year to get from Hong Kong to Singapore, I would be having similar issues.

So listen, if anyone has any suggestions for destinations, or would like to vote - Burma or Vietnam, please do so. Maybe if there are enough votes, I will let viewers at home guide me along on this trip. I'll put up two options and you tell me which one I should do. At least it will take the trouble of making a decision out of my hands.

So long for now..I only have two and a half days left with that wonderful girlfriend sewing out on the couch and I want to be with her.


Blogger Frema said...

Good luck planning your trip. I hope you have a great two days with your girlfriend.

9:23 PM  
Blogger CDP said...

Hi Alan

As you look upon the map remember the words of Alfred Korzbyski, "The map is not the territory".
And even though you stare across the vastness of the uncertain and the unkown, in the quietness of your heart you'll increasingly sense that your internal journey is infinitely more vast than anything external.
Anything beyond your comfort zone is uncharted territory, and, it's internally there is no map. Only the Ultimate Guide - God.
And you'll be stretched. Definitely! I'm counting on it =)
You already have been stretched...
"Man's mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original shape." - Oliver Wendell Holmes

So as you progress in your expanded shape I wish you God speed and these words...

For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. -Jeremiah 29:11-14 (NIV, copyright IBS)

"What on Earth Am I Here for?"
You'll find the answer...

1:41 AM  
Anonymous shawn grant said...

alan when did you start planning ahead of time? just go man! just go!!!

6:41 PM  

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