The Chinese Dream

While waiting in line of the emigration counter he thought of how hundreds of years ago people would  move from Europe to the “new lands” of North America, leaving everything behind. In search of happiness, wealth or maybe just for the adventure. Now it was his turn to cross half the planet and make a new life for himself in an exotic country. A truly exciting prospect.

Seven years ago Jeanmarie‘s son, Tim, emigrated to China. He’s always been a traveler. He traveled for years on end through Europe, South America and Asia. On one of those travels in Spain, Jeremy, a French Horn player from the United States, crossed his path. They became good friends and they always kept in touch.

A recent picture of Jeanmarie & Tim in Shibidom, China.

At that time Tim would make a habit of coming back to the Netherlands every few months just to earn some money and then quickly leave again to travel further. Even though he was almost always gone, Tim is one of my best friends. An I-haven’t-seen-you-in-ages, but-nothing-really-changed kind of relationship.

Tim has a quality for setting goals and reaching them. In the past few years he worked himself up to be a successful manager and entrepreneur in the international flower business, although he would be far too modest to call himself successful. And I don’t really know why, but he somehow has an impeccable record of making the right decisions at the right time.
In 2005 Jeremy convinced Tim to pay him a visit as he was doing voluntary work on a school in a remote, poverty struck area of Western Yunnan. Tim decided to travel the Trans-Siberian Railway and entered China for the first time by crossing the Mongolian-Chinese border. As he arrived in Beijing he made a quick decision to head for Yunnan directly.
Tim & Jeremy
As he got out of the bus in Shangri-La, Jeremy was already waiting for him. It was pretty late, so they decided to spend the night there, before heading to the school in the mountains where Jeremy was volunteering. That night they met Andi, an Austrian tour guide who was already living in Yunnan for five years. They had a few beers, as you do with Austrians, and after that went on with their journey. After spending a week with Jeremy in the mountains near the school, Tim headed for Kunming where he wanted to catch a bus to Vietnam.
Upon arrival in Kunming the vibe of endless possibilities was almost tangible. On his last day, as he was wandering through the crowded streets, he coincidentally bumped into Andi again.
Tim in front of the Trans-Siberian train that travels from
Moscow to Beijing.

I’m not sure if they had beers this time, but Tim told Andi that he was really excited about Kunming and China. They talked about the enormous developments and the great opportunities that might lie ahead. Andi’s reassuring words added fuel to Tim’s fire. He decided that he wanted to enroll for a Chinese course directly. Andi, being gründlich, didn’t hesitate for a second and immediately took Tim to a good University, which was within walking distance. After finishing the enrollment for a course for  the next semester and saying good bye, Tim quickly headed for the bus station to catch his bus to Vietnam.

Eventually, Tim came back to Holland to prepare everything for his emigration. A few months later he went to the city hall to have himself removed from the register of dutch citizens. As he was joining the end of the line he was unknowingly making one of his right decisions at the right time.

Next Blog: About Tim’s roommate, Frank – the person that convinced Jeanmarie to go perform in China.