China has given my life a purpose

Updated: 2015-05-25 09:55


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After my first trip to China in 2008, I did not immediately see living here as my next goal. The trip changed me in a profound way but the idea of chucking everything I had built in the States and coming here was not even a consideration at that time. What forced the issue was the fact that I could find no purpose, no sense of fulfillment after graduation. My life in America was empty.

I tried volunteering at women's shelters. I could teach them simple household repairs, how to fix their car. I'd been where these battered, downtrodden women had been and I had overcome; surely there was knowledge to impart and aid/succor to be rendered. I was told repeatedly that I did not have the educational credentials to help these women on that level.

Well, OK then. I can help with kids. I generally have good rapport with children, even though at first they tend to be intimidated by my size. Again I was told I do not have the proper background and education credentials to work with kids.

Well, what about when Katrina hit and all of those victims flooded into Dallas, the city I called home? Being as I've been homeless and have suffered tragedy, maybe I could help there? 'No, but if you'd like to make a cash donation'. It seems organizations wanted my money but nothing from me.

I am not even allowed to donate blood or bone marrow in America! Much of my childhood and early adult life was spent overseas. The fear that I might have mad cow disease from eating meat while overseas overrode the fact that blood is desperately needed and I am a universal donor, and I am healthy as a horse.

It's not like I wanted an all or nothing proposition. I did not mind volunteering at shelters and reading to kids, but again: one must be properly accredited to do so. And where is the purpose? When there is such a need for help, and I stand here with a lifetime of real experience under my belt and ready to help, why won't you let me help?

That is when I started focusing on China. Chinese industry is just now recognizing the perils of polluting their land and waterways. The Chinese lifestyle is just now becoming what America was in the 1950's. Maybe there is room for one foreigner to make a difference in helping build that bridge to what China wants to become: a so-called first-world country.

Since raising my kids, my life did not feel very purposeful. These past few years, teaching English have been so. Thank you, China, for allowing me a purposeful life.

The opinions expressed here are those of the writer and don't represent views of China Daily website. You can read the original story and comments here: A purpose life.

China has given my life a purpose

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