"What a wonderful visit today with an Ex-Pat teaching in Chanchun..."...

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January 12, 2008...Changchun...

I had the distinct pleasure of meeting a very interesting ex-pat by the name of Aaron A. Vessup...He is a distinguished gentleman from Southern California, whose life of education and life experiences has brought his "journey" here Jilin University, Changchun City, China...I met Aaron at our last home game, sitting directly behind our bench, and of course you know me, I just had to acknowledge him before the game got underway...We exchanged acquaintances after the game, giving him my name and "call me at the hotel Redbuds...", which he kindly did...So, today, we met at the lobby bar and visited for a good hour and a half, enjoying the pleasure of one another's company, sharing stories of our immediate experiences and past travels...You want to know how "small" the world is today? Get this: he has a home in San Marcos, Guatemala, overlooking the Atitlan Lake and village...Why is this significant? Only because I happened to have been in that very small lake village twice over the last 5 years, accompanying Lee Larson and his Family on a humanitarian visit, teaching local and extended lake village locals on how to teach basketball to children...Now, in a country of 3 billion people and a city of under 4 million, you have to wonder how this could ever happen today...Aaron is an Author, Teacher, Poet, Photographer, Philosopher and genuine kind human being...His travels and intrigue brought him to this province awhile back, and he hasn't left...He teaches college students at Jilin University the merits of debate and patiently "how" to think outside the box, when it comes to understanding life as they know it today in their city, province and country...By no means is he an anarchist or anti-model of all that is good and positive in this ever-changing world, especially on the cusps of the "new" China...He possesses the values and intellect to clearly understand culture and behavior, thus elevating him to a level of instruction that is both praiseworthy and developmental...He comes from an athletic background himself, having been a wrestler and track competitor in college, and more importantly a National Debate Finalist and Champion back in the day...Gosh, it was so fun and unique to have this experience with him, Folks, as you can only imagine...He is working on another manuscript AND photo album/narrative that will capture his observations and those of his students here in Changchun...He gave me a book he recently published, titled: "Songs for Confucious" (Poetry and Photography)...it is quite a compilation he has published here, and I hope to share it with you upon my return...It warms my heart dearly, to see educators here in China, providing a positive-constructive template for learning new skills and knowledge relating to one's world...and to think he has a home in San Marcos, Guatemala...wow...Okay, that's all for now...The CBA All Star game is tonight and I am hoping that it is televised so I can tell you how DaJuan Tate and Wong Bo performed in this annual event...Best wishes to all, safe travels, buckle up...Special note to my students: "May all your Wishes be Swishes..."...Coach tom

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