About the Author
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My reasons for creating this website and for coming to China range from lofty to lowly. The main idea has always been to further understanding of China, its peoples, and its cultures among my family, my friends, and whoever else will pay attention. I consider cultural misunderstandings to either be core or catalytic to all international conflicts, and I hope someday to play a larger role in preventing such conflicts in a diplomatic capacity. That said, I also came to China for the adventure of it. I simply enjoy getting lost in strange lands, struggling with foreign languages, and immersing myself in cultures dramatically different from my own. This time spent in China comes after similar experiences in Germany and Argentina. In so many ways, China is about as far away from the little town of Groveland, California as one can get.
I created Another China Page in May of 2004 primarily as a means of staying in contact with family and friends scattered around the globe. I'm sure a healthy dose of narcissism was also involved. The title was chosen in recognition that not only am I not the first westerner to come to China for the reasons given above, I'm not even the first to put up a website about it. China blogs ("weblogs" for the uninitiated) seem to multiply faster than the Chinese population, and I have provided links to some of the better ones on this website.
As for my experience in the People's Republic, I first came to China in October of 2001 after planning and saving for the move for about a year. I spent my first 11 months in Beijing working as an EFL teacher for a Canadian chain, Delter International Business Institute. I then traveled for a month before returning to the US for a 2-month visit. After arriving in Shanghai in December of 2002 I spent the next 16 months there, first at another EFL school called The Institute of American Language and Culture (ALC) and then at a Taiwanese kindergarten-EFL-resources development company called Melody (双美). At Melody I alternated between the roles of kindergarten teacher, seminar trainer, and the company's foreign face. These seminars involved audiences from 100 to 500 kindergarten teachers and sent me on frequent business trips to cities all over China. Before finishing in Shanghai I made another visit to the US during the Spring Festival holiday of 2004, this time only for 2 weeks. I enjoyed another long (45-day) vacation traveling through China's southwest before moving to the city of Dongying, Shandong Province in May of 2004. There I was the Director of Studies for a newly opened branch of a British chain, Shane English Schools, until June of 2005. I remained in Dongying until November of the same year working on several personal projects, including a second edition of a bilingual guidebook to Dongying which I sold to resident foreigners, several local hotels, and foreign companies relocating factories and foreign workers to the area. And of course I took the opportunity to do one last round of traveling in China before returning home to California.
Although all my jobs in China have been related to teaching English, they have provided me with many, varied perspectives on life here. I have traveled in China as a backpacker, a member of a Chinese tour group, and a businessman. I have been a guest in countless Chinese homes, and I have spent three out of four Spring Festivals with a family in Hefei, Anhui Province that has adopted me as their own. I've witnessed the Ice Lantern Festival in Haerbin, Heilongjiang Province, the Water Splashing Festival in the Xishuangbanna region of Yunnan Province, and many others in between. I've sampled more local specialties than I can remember and a few that I would like to forget. These experiences have been enough to make a few years seem like a very, very long time. I hope that by sharing these experiences in part through this website that my readers will come to know and appreciate China as I do.