The Undiscovered Country

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LianYunGang Airport

Bound for travel yet again. I took up an enticing offer to hit the road. The whole journey was arranged by the office of foreign affairs at the HuaiHai Institute. For a mere 700 RMB I could join in the fun. On tap for this trip: a visit to Putuo Mountain (one of four holy Buddhist mtns in China) and a trip to HangZhou as well. I never would’ve had the conviction to visit these places on my own; I’m convinced that much is true.

As usual, though, I accepted the invite without hesitation knowing full well that all the details had been sorted out already. This trip was difficult to turn down, considering the circumstances. We had a four-day weekend due to some sports events on campus. The university cancelled classes on Thursday and Friday of that week to allow students to fully participate in the sports competitions. As a matter of fact, I was invited to participate in the competitions as well.

The foreign languages department came to me for help in bolstering their (apparently) lackluster hopes in winning any of the events. They asked for my assistance with the 100-meter relay. I was flattered by their offer, so I accepted. But the offer for the trip was soon to follow the sports recruitment, so I reneged on my verbal commitment to the school and left town instead. In the aftermath of double-booking myself and subsequently abandoning the school, I did feel a little twinge of guilt.

For whatever reason, I had allowed the flattering offer from the athletically beleaguered foreign languages department to boost my ego. I actually started to believe that I could deliver victory for our team. Probably an illusion, I’m sure. But I had been spending some time running on the school’s track lately; and based on what I saw, there weren’t many top-tier runners around. So as part of the illusion and my over-inflated ego, I had this vision in my head of me and my teammates hoisting the 1st place trophy over our heads. Then we would go out on the town to celebrate (which I probably would’ve done regardless of the outcome).

But as it turns out, the opportunity to assert dominance on the track had passed. Perhaps it was for the best. The unrealized dream of victory is a much more satisfying state-of-mind than the crushing disappointment found in actual defeat. In a rational analysis of my chances to deliver victory, the chances were slim. So I’ll be content to hold on to the pleasant illusion instead.

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