26 April 2017

April: Through The Years...

So, April has come around with equally exciting opportunities for new memories to be made. Looking through the years I'm going to see what 2012, 2015 and 2017 served to me during the month of April. From my time in Newark, NJ to working in a hotel as a receptionist after my graduation its sure been a mix of experiences. Oh yes, China saved me! April slayed after all!

Turning back the hands of time it feels right for April 2012 to make a comeback. My third month during my Newark days in New Jersey served nothing but straight up Ironbound Realness! The whole time around April 2012 stands as a blur at this moment but I still remember the simple things, well maybe some of the more major moments if I take a few moments to think about them. Working as a Passenger Services Agent for a British flag carrier airline gave me all the insight to the workings of a pre-departure flight experience at that point. My third month working at Newark Liberty International Airport was character building to say the least, well the commute was an eye-opener if nothing else! Breaking from the state-line of New Jersey I got myself on a Pennsylvania bound train to experience Philadelphia for the day, I should of stayed overnight but that would of got me into trouble! The Northeast Coast was on fire!

Lady Liberty had my attention, fresh from my assault of Philadelphia I was good with staying closer to my Newark, NJ location. Boarding a Liberty Ferry across Jersey's stretch of the Hudson River unlocked the key to Ellis Island Immigration Centre and the legendary Statue of Liberty in one afternoon! I was schooled about America's immigration boom and how those dreamers were processed after their epic voyages to the supposed 'New World', it was so much more than I had previously expected. Saving the best for last it had to be the lady herself, standing on-point with her binding tablet. A gift from the French this NYC icon served nothing but truth and freedom, I was blown away by her strength as she stood poised to ward the evils away from New York City and it's New Jersey sister! I tried to open my eyes as it felt like I was dreaming, but as sure fire I was living that moment for real! April 2012 and it's exact events might be hazy but I remembered greatness!

April 2015 saw me in very different circumstances than my Jersey days at the airport, I had finished university and was working as a hotel receptionist at a Walsall hotel. To escape that situation I used the best of my West Midlands location with two day trips away from my hometown to Leicester and Cambridge. Leicester served an Indian spice to my April day of discovery, I used that East Midlands city as a distraction because I was in the middle of hatching a master-plan to reach China, I thanked Leicester for its sanctuary. The hotel had its moment, earning my coins to get where I wanted to be was the reason, I was experiencing a job that fitted my degree but I was desperately seeking a new international adventure. Biding my time I had faith in April 2015 to lay the foundations to my then next move. Days out like I had to Leicester at that point made all the difference. April 2015 done!

A second outing was just the ticket, going further south than Birmingham I trekked down to Cambridge for a lovely spring day. That upper class student city served a sense of Oxford with its historic school houses, showing me how the other half get the chance to study. I had the best experience at UCB in Birmingham so I wasn't bitter by what regal buildings Cambridge offered its student whatsoever. Punting impressed me much, that scenic view wasn't just pleasing for my sight it got me away from my daily routine. Kings College and the winding River Cam gave me a sense of something I needed at that point, my life was in the works at that point if truth be told. Stopping in my brothers uni dorm the night before my early morning coach I was reminded of my former city life. Life had changed beyond belief for me since my uni days but I had my priorities straight at that point, it would of only been a matter of weeks before I had my golden ticket. I just had to go a little further!

In the present, during April 2017 I stand with my feet firmly on Chinese soil, I got what I wanted and even though I almost had it taken away from me I made every moment of this month count! Hangzhou, China had me covered for the Tomb Sweeping Festival as I had a trip booked that was as pretty as a picture. Touching down on-board my China Southern flight from Wuhan I wasted no time, admiring the Feilai Peak Scenic Area to see the mystical looking grotto's. Like a prayer I found Hangzhou's Lingyin Temple without stress, embracing the busy nature of the temple I got my photos and a great feel for that colourful place of worship without much thought, there was something about my 22nd destination within Mainland China that I loved! I had kicked the woes of April 2015 away like a football and scored the winning goal! Oh, teaching is still blessed! Yes, I'm still at the kindergarten and I hope that remains.

China Highlights had me booking up my third trip in less than two years, being the second trip of 2017 with that company after my Harbin extravaganza, I was pumped for the day of Hangzhou delights I had been promised. Concurring the first Chinese Yuan note, the 'Three Pools Mirroring the Moon' gave me life for certain as the beauty of Hangzhou's West Lake blew me away without question. Lunch was enjoyed a the Chenghuang Pavilion, those delectable Hangzhou snacks satisfied my stomach without a doubt! Breezing through a museum about Chinese Medicine was over in a flash, I'm just not a museum type! Picking my own tea leaves within the plantations where Hangzhou's famous Green Tea grows was an experience for certain, I looked the part throughout! I'll be ending April 2017 with my Hainan Airlines flight to Lanzhou in-preparation for my overnight train to Lhasa! Through the three April's mentioned I have been blessed in different ways, blessed never stressed!

Amazing April!

Joseph Harrison 

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