I’m just back from the States – the trip was very exhausting but very very good! As I traveled through several states and cities, participating in several conferences, I got to catch up with long-time fellow journeyers, as well as many new acquaintances. Several great meetings and conferences took place and I even had the opportunity to speak to a few classes at Homestead High (my alma mater) about following a different sort of career path. Of course I also figured a trail race in my schedule and won a buffalo (stuffed toy) for my effort! One of the highlights was visiting women in a dance/strip club – it was a lot easier to listen and understand their vernacular in English! The women were also interested to know that I did similar work visiting women in similar circumstances in other countries!
The interest among health professionals who want to get involved as abolitionists is rapidly growing, and now I’m working to train them to be effective in their efforts. Several exciting projects addressing the health consequences of human trafficking are in the works as a result of the connections made. Many times it was regrettable that I had only a short time in each place – many times it would have been good continue the discussion in working together or meet others who are involved in similar work.
Even with all the good progress and hope for more, returning to China is good on so many levels. I have a solid community of friends here and that makes a huge difference. I have a place to be and a rhythm to my life HERE, and not in America, as nice as it is to visit. I think that China is starting to grow on me. Yes, I guess it has taken a while, and many of you know that it has not necessarily been my choice place to live. The work here is of course compelling; and as of yet I don’t have a sense of where I want to live after China. While the work opportunities are pulling me ever more internationally, I’m still making the most of it here.
While many aspects of life and culture here wear on me, it is a life that I understand and have learned to thrive within it. OK, so it was not so great to return and see that I had two notices stating that my electric bill was overdue taped to my door and that my electricity was turned off the day I got back. A quick walk to pay my bill, and then a phone call to request resuming of service was a big pain, but it worked out. It usually does, with a little patience and grace.