Commencing countdown, engines on…. The beginning of my China Odyssey

Well this is how my China Odyssey began (“commencing countdown, engines on“) back in 1988 when following the success of the AIESEC international conference, in Galway, on “EC – China Future Trade Relations” the Ambassador of China to Ireland, His Excellency Zhou Yang, presented me, as the Organising Committee President, with a scholarship (“you’ve really made the grade“) to study Chinese at the Beijing Language Institute [today’s Beijing Culture and Language University] (now it’s time to leave the capsule if you dare). ..I recall we presented the Ambassador with a solid gold A. T. Cross Pen, made in Ballinasloe . Wonder where that pen is now?…. Anyhow, I’d only planned to be away in China for a year, a new country and culture, the excitement, and the chance to pick up a language none of my other friends spoke – besides they were all emigrating to London and the USA – which I found to be a tad unadventureous. Thereafter my plan was to return to Ireland and find a job…

..that was over 21 years ago.

I’m stepping through the door. And I’m floating in a most peculiar way and the stars look very different today.

For here am I sitting in a tin can, far above the world.

Planet Earth is blue and there’s nothing I can do.

Though I’m past one hundred thousand miles, I’m feeling very still.

And I think my spaceship knows which way to go“**.

**Lyrics from David Bowie’s Space Odyssey

And it still does as it plots a course towards Ireland and home.

AIESEC Ireland – China Conference – March 1988 Galway – Logo designed by Lisa Burns

European Community and China Future Trade relations 1988European Community and China Future Trade relations 1988European Community China Future Trade relations
European Community China Future Trade Relations
European Community - China Future Trade RelationsEuropean Community - China: Future Trade RelationsEuropean Community - China: Future Trade Relations

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Filed under Business, China, Ireland, Poetry

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