It’s the middle of the semester, and nearing the end of another year! And what a busy year this one has been. I saved one of the best part of my summer review for now, because it connects with what the rest of the year has to offer!
I had the pleasure of teaching a group of Chinese students in July; part of the Confucius Institute’s exchange program with the Communication University of China. I had a fun time sharing with them about the Live Entertainment business in America. And I learned from them as well. So I took it as a compliment when the students gleefully shared how much they enjoyed me and my class. But I wasn’t quite sure how to take the verbal invitation from their two professors for me to come to China.
“I’d love to come visit some time,” I responded. “Perhaps one summer when I don’t have classes.”
“Oh no, it must be in November, ” I heard one of them remark.
What I thought in my head was “Do you really think we’re all rich and can just pick up and fly to another part of the world on a whim?” But before I could explain that there was school, and finances, and other things to consider before planning a trip to another country, they continued.
“You must come speak at the Forth Conference.”
The what? I thought loud enough for them to see the look on my face. Fortunately for both of us, their team leader from my school explained that there is an annual music conference held in Beijing in November, and that they were inviting me to come speak at that event. He went on to say what an honor it would be, and that I would enjoy going to China.
I hardly had time to wrap my head around a trip like that before I found myself preparing for the new semester, and wondering if they were really serious, since there had been no follow up email with a formal invitation five weeks later when our classes started.
Perhaps I was trying too hard to convince myself it wasn’t real, which contributed to me delaying the renewal of my passport, but a month later, the invitation came. And life for me has been somewhat of a blur ever sense — expediting a passport renewal (after taking a new photo), taking care of the paperwork for a Chinese visa (which also had to be expedited), and trying hard to get more details of exactly what the conference was, what they wanted my role to be, and who else would be attending, speaking, and participating!
Today marks exactly one week before my departure. And only now have I received a little more clarification about what I’ll be speaking on. I’m looking forward to seeing what kind of professional and personal experiences await me on this new journey.
For now. I only have five days to put two presentations together and send for the translation. I’ll somehow figure out how to squeeze that into my already crazy schedule, and LIFE!