Updated: Jul 25, 2022
Somewhere warmer than Bellingham, WA? Check.
Somewhere with 1000s of years of history? Check.
Somewhere far away from Bellingham, WA? Check.
I've always been fascinated by southeast Asia. I think it was the film The Last Emperor that hooked me more than anything else. The story of Pu Yi was awesome. Born the Son of Heaven he is emperor of all of China. As a teenager he seeks to widen his gaze and see a larger world. Tradition and his position limit his ability to get out and see what's going on. His English gentlemen tutor (I've always tried to be a gentle man your majesty) RJ chronicled their time together in the book Twilight in the Forbidden City. After being used by the Japanese as a puppet ruler of Manchuria the communist government throws him in prison for re-education. He lives the end of his life as "just a guy" that lives down the street. Pu Yi was a victim of his circumstances in many ways. He made some terrible decisions in his life, but I find myself often not wanting to judge others so harshly. Perhaps I don't want others to judge me without knowing my circumstances?
I turned down a different math teaching job in Guangzhou while waiting to hear back on the one in Hangzhou. Guangzhou would have felt like living in a large urban American city. It was the google images searches. I didn't see trees. I didn't see lakes, rivers, and mountains. Hangzhou looked different. West Lake looks amazing. The orchards of tea plantations are beautiful. Pagodas and Temples that dot the area grabbed my eye. Proximity to Beijing is better so I can see where Pu Yi sat on his thrown. I want to take the selfie while walking on the Great Wall. Hangzhou just feels right.