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Neil Yaun prides himself on knowing a little about everything, despite no formal college education. He is self-educated, with a love of Chinese culture focused on their history and traditions. Growing disillusioned with the direction America is taking and his negative experiences with American women he is seeking a new path in China. He plans to teach English in China. This blog is about the journey to China and all the pitfalls along the way.
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There and Back Again Part III: Can't Save 'em All.    

By Neil Yaun
2580 Views | 4 Comments | 6/27/2013 2:09:08 PM

Pretty much the feeling I had when I left America this time.

If you’ve been following my story so far of my return to America to see my friends and family, you’ve probably got a pretty grim picture of what I encountered when I was there. It is true that there were some terrible things that I went up against, from willful ignorance to the food not being edible; however, it was not all bad. My friends and I shared some great times at our local drinking hole, and I was able to make up for the bad food with cooking myself on the grill like old times. Although, the good didn’t erase the horror I felt inside for my friends and what was left of what I called home.

I was afraid that going back home to the States would make me want to stay in America and that time away from Windy would change how I felt about her, but it was quite the opposite. My connection with Windy only grew stronger while I was gone. We chatted at least once a day while I was home just like before I came to China, when meeting a beautiful Chinese girl like her was just a dream. It was very nostalgic to remember how it all began with us sharing every extra moment we had to speak to each other.

She kept me strong, while I experienced the worst of my trip and she celebrated with me the high points. Though, thinking about it now, it’s amazing I didn’t go crazy on my friends about how they had let their situations deteriorate. One of my friends was literally living in squalor and filth. I spent much of my second week back home trying to help make that home habitable and comfortable enough for me to stay there for a few days. It was extremely depressing knowing that when I left it was probably only going to go back to it terrible state or get worse.

My friend N has a boyfriend that is keeping her down in a very bad place and there wasn’t much I can do other than tell her she needs to cut off the dead weight. I even offered to send her money to help out, but she refused. To her being lonely is worse than death, and yet I know loneliness well. I was walking down that road long before she ever did. It wasn’t pleasant but it wasn’t a death sentence either. The point I tried to make to her was that in my darkest hour there was still hope and you don’t have to settle for the scrapings off the bottom of the barrel. Needless to say, she refused to see reason.

J had let himself fall into a drug habit that was his only motivation to do anything. As long as he made enough money to pay his rent and had enough money left for his ounce, he was happy. He was never ambitious, and I knew that he wasn’t motivated either; I just never thought he’d sink into such a destructive cycle. I passed on what wisdom you can to someone who doesn’t listen, and counted my blessing that his sister was doing well at least.

Another friend H was in hiding from the police because of owing money for a debt, which sounds like something from a Dickens novel. Apparently debtor prisons are returning to America. I know that sounds farfetched, yet I’m not exaggerating. People are going to jail more and more just for owing money because of losing a job or having to live beyond their means just to pay the bills. There wasn’t much I could tell H because I agreed with him that a person shouldn’t fear imprisonment just for owing money.

So, as most of you can tell most of my advice fell on deaf ears and there wasn’t anything else to be done about it, so I had to accept that I’d done my best to help all of my friends who had let themselves fall into the abyss. Hopefully, they will be able to pull themselves up by their bootstraps and dig themselves out of the hole. I wasn’t going to hold my breath though, because I had become even more pessimistic about the state of America since living in China.

Thankfully, it was time to go back to China and the life that I had built here, even though, my trip was more positive than negative. It still left me with a bittersweet taste in my mouth, and doubts that I’d ever want to return home to live, but that is another story all together. I was just happy to wrap my arms around Windy again and start living again in a place that made some sense.

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Comments
(Showing 1 to 4 of 4) 1
#2013-06-27 18:23:01 by isabella2010 @isabella2010

enjoy your time in china....

#2013-06-29 09:33:46 by GLLK @GLLK

is this a question of...the grass is greener on the other side?

#2013-07-02 23:44:34 by canadianmike @canadianmike

This was a great series to read. It is obvious that you've seen the bigger picture (although this can apply to *any* two different situations) and have taken off your rose-coloured glasses. Sure, there are problems in China that could make living in the U.S. seem a dream but the reality is we make our happiness where we see the most potential. I think you potential for happiness in China is 100%.
@GLLK - The grass may be greener on the other side but in this case, it drove Neil to make a decision for a new life. His return visit to the U.S. proved he made the right choice and he is in greener territory now.

#2013-10-26 11:26:38 by Barry1 @Barry1

It's really great to see that Neil has found his niche in life. A place where at last he feels safe and happy; and even better than this, a place where loneliness has been expelled forever and a wonderful relationship with a loving lady has blossomed.

Whoever said that first world countries are "better" than second world countries was wrong. Sure, the average living standard may be higher in a developed country for most, but what about all the people there that fall between the cracks, where for whatever reason, they're swept into a life of drugs or crime or destitution?

I remember buying something from a street vendor in China on my last trip there. I gave her about five yuan, after beating her down from ten yuan. Overall, she probably made a net profit on the deal of just one or two yuan. Yet the smile on her face was reminiscent of someone in the West who'd just won a million dollar poker machine jackpot!

An incandescent image I'll remember always, with its varying layers of meanings and messages on so many differing levels.



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