The end of the China Adventure
Before I can get to updating you on where I am now, I must close out the China chapter. I loved teaching at SISU or 上海外国语大学。I wanted to stay, they wanted me to stay and it was all very tempting. But there was just one tragic flaw, and it was everywhere: the air. By the time I had been living in Shanghai a few months, I started noticing more and more difficulty breathing, more and more little ailments that could be traced to air quality, and more and more of what doctors delicately call “productive coughing.” Even after buying a high powered air purifier things did not improve. In fact, in some ways, it made my life (if not my health) even worse. I wanted to go out and see and do things less because the one place I felt okay was in the apartment. Eventually, I had to concede that I had to leave. It was a disappointment to everyone.
I very much hope that I can go back to China, for shorter visits, or to cleaner-aired cities. And I want to keep on studying the language, which I have been utterly captivated by. I have been happy to get mail from some of my Chinese students, asking for a read-through here and there and just checking in. They really were (are!) a great bunch and I miss them.
As a perfect antidote to the air quality in China, my partner and I spent the month of July almost completely in Norway. Between near 24 hour sun and the crispest, bluest sky I think I’ve ever seen, I felt better quite soon. We visited Svalbard, north of the arctic circle, and saw some of the most breathtaking scenery and natural beauty I’ve ever experienced. We meandered home by way of Reykjavik were the tours of natural beauty continued, including a trip down into the þríhnúkagígur volcano. My lungs were healed and I was ready for the next adventure.
And for my next trick… I’ve been working on starting a business. Very, very soon (mid-January), there will be a new site to see, a new adventure for PhDeviate!
What does this mean?
So, I hear you ask, PhDeviate, what does this mean? Are you done with teaching for good? Wiping the chalk dusk off your hands (feet, shirttails, pants, jackets… it does get everywhere) and hanging up your academic regalia forever? Well, loyal readers (and I truly believe anyone reading this must be loyal!) it’s not 100% clear where this will lead. The world of language and literature will never, could never, be fully estranged from me, fear not on that score. But when I founded this blog I promised you, and me, that I would stray from the path to find my way. So far, keeping to the untrodden places of the professional realm has led me to some pretty fantastic adventures, and I believe that this deviation will prove no less productive and fascinating.