Immediately following this post, you’ll find four new postings devoted to weekend excursions we took during our five months in Kunming – three with our tour guide friends Dai Hui and Zhang Xuelin to other parts of Yunnan province and one by ourselves to Laos. You may need to click “Older Posts” at the bottom to see all four.
The rest of our time in Kunming was almost entirely devoted to studying Chinese. We spent four hours per day (in some cases six) in one-on-one lessons with our very kind and dedicated teachers. Marcia and I have tremendous respect for these young women who stayed positive and effective despite the very difficult task of teaching a language to people of our advancing age.
Learning any language is humbling, and Chinese even more than others. I thought I was doing well until about the third month when my teacher broke down and told me my tone pronunciation was so bad that none of the other teachers could understand me. Thanks to her intervention, we went back to square one and did speech therapy for more than a month until I started to speak properly. I’m not perfect, but I can now hold my own in everyday conversation.
So what’s next? Marcia and I have been traveling around the US and Europe meeting many of my old colleagues and customers to validate the concept of starting a consulting business based in Shanghai. My idea is to serve Western and Chinese pharma companies and vendors who need an experienced manager to help them manage relationships and deliver projects in China. We have now confirmed enough interest that we have committed to moving to Shanghai in late October.
It will be another adventure, and I’m sure we’ll have many stories and pictures to fill a new phase of Rough and Ready Tours. Stay tuned!