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By Guest Writer Richard Freud
I always believe in meeting Joe and Ann is not a coincidence for me. I still remember the first time when I met them in small restaurant near the college. I picked up some topics about politics. I didn’t expect they would respond. Actually most of tourists I met are not interested in such things. It kinda surprised me how intelligent they are. Especially Joe who when we first met brought up a topic that really intrigued and enlighten me. He told me that being rich is not about the amount of money I have; being rich or poor is about the amount of time I have.
This is the thing I have been looking for. It’s the inspiration that’s totally worth a million dollars. This idea is completely changing my outlook on life. Living in China is not that easy. Many of the people here are lost…lost their faith, lost their direction. The people here have their mind shackled. They are enslaved by the money. I was kinda like that too since I live here. Gotta get used to circumstance here, but Joe’s words, or his theory completely refresh and enlighten me. Just that time I started to like him for his brilliance.
Afterward I tried to spend more time with them so I can have more time to learn more and absorb their theories. I expressed to Joe how much this meant and so Joe and Ann decided to give a lecture at the universety on the topic of “How to Become Rich.” I knew if I didn’t attend I probably would regret it for my life. Through this lecture I got more understanding for Joe’s theory. I even asked for his notes for the lecture. Yes, I still keep it now. As Joe defined it I can be rich. Being rich is more about being generous and working hard doing what I love with my time than about having lots of money at the bank. Lots of rich people are really not rich by the way that Joe defined it. People with lots of money or no money are sometimes equally greedy and equally poor. Being rich takes hard work and investing but it’s not about the amount of money a person has, it’s about the amount of time that they have. The lecture was very exciting.
A few days later Joe and Ann went to Yangshuo which is a beautiful small county village near Guilin City where I live in. They invited me to hang out with them for the weekend. I think we spent several weekends there. I really enjoyed it. Joe and Ann both have expertise for rock climbing. I think this is one of the reasons why they chose Yangshuo as one of place they stayed for long time. The first weekend we hang out in Yangshuo I think that’s most meaningful day for me. In this day Joe and Ann taught me how to do the rock climbing. I still clearly remember that. In the afternoon we all rode the bikes to reach a unknown hill near the road. I think this hill got marked on Joe’s map. Then we started to prepare the rock climbing. Joe and Ann teach me how to wear the safety harness and explain how to do it, then showed me how do it. Well I was the last one to climb the rock. I have never done this before…zero experience for this. I was so nervous that time. I thought I would fall anytime. And it looked so hard. I assumed it needed a lot strength and I am like a nerd. How I was supposed to finish it? I even doubt myself to do that, but I still decided to try. It was easy for this route. I imitated what Joe and Ann did before. And Joe and Ann both stood hillside and instructed me how to do that. This route is easy one. Then I succeeded to get the top. I was so excited. It’s easy and Ann hailed for me. Then a little bit later I chose more difficult one. It was still easy for several step but afterward I got stuck there. It’s too steep and it required more strength. My arms got strained a lot. I stopped there. I felt like I was going to fall and I thought I was going to give up. I told them I wanted to go down but Joe told me if I couldn’t go further then he wouldn’t let me go down. What could I do? I had to try my best. I had to challenge my limit. My arms was so strained. But I had to try to reach the higher level. Thanks Joe for pushing me. Finally I reached the higher step, then Joe did same trick to push me further. I got another future level. I think I should thanks Joe. It’s him who let me to know I can do it better or much better then I realized. Whenever I am going to give up I shouldn’t just let it go easily. I should hold it and I do need the friends like Joe and Ann who can courage me all the time so I can exceed my limit. I can be stronger. I can do a lot more than what I thought I could do before.
On the last weekend we hanged out in Yangshuo we visited a small town called Fuli which we rode our bikes to. It was remote and many miles away. Joe found a photo album while talking to a street vendor and it had a photo of Longsheng (Longsheng is well known for its rice terrace fields) in it. He pointed to it then he said I want to go there. I thought he just said it randomly that time but afterward like a week later I got called by Joe. He said I am in Longsheng now, we will pay for you to come hang out with us. You know Longsheng is like 80 miles away from Guilin. It’s far away and sarcastically as a local I have never been to there before. But I knew I would regret it for my life if I didn’t come. So I took several days leave to hang out with them. I would consider the 2 and half days I spent with them in Longsheng to be some of the most valuable, most inspiring, most enlightened days for my entire life. During those days Joe and Ann did teach me a lot. The most important one of those things they taught me is about faith in God. I still remember it – there was one day during a long hike to to the Pingan Village where we stayed. Joe told me the story about Joseph. Joseph was the 11th of Jacob’s 12 sons and Rachel’s firstborn. Joseph was sold into slavery by his jealous brothers, yet rose to become the most powerful man in Egypt next to Pharaoh. During those days Joseph stayed in Egypt. He went through a lot suffering. I mean a lot. But he never gave up his faith in God and he could always turn calamities into blessings. I had to associate his experience with mine. Seriously I am not content with my current job. I made so much effort but I got so little in return. I about make $1 USD per hour and there is no space for me to grow. There were a lot times I wanted to leave but I couldn’t. This story is enlightenful. It made me feel that God always will make the best for me. Just try my best to have done the job for my part, then leave the rest to God, then everything will be fine for me. It let me to stay calm. Yes, in the end Joe told me if God want you to do it, no matter what you can do it. Just needing to strengthen my faith on God. Now I am still try to practice it with their theories. Whenever I feel I am lost again, then I always like to recall his words and then I feel refreshed and enlightened again.
Since I was very little I always dream about going to America. It’s the country with great freedom and democracy. Most advanced and powerful country in the world. It’s open society and people are tolerant and enjoy the diversities there. It’s a lot of people’s dream place. Well I guess Joe and Ann perceived that and they did give me the surprise on their last day we spent in Guilin by mentioning to invite me to go to USA to spend summer vacation with them. Well everybody can imagine how much I was excited after I heard it from Joe. Then it’s like 2 months later during a phone conversation with them. They formally invited me to go to USA. I wasn’t happy to work in this Taiwanese company. This invitation is just kinda like cure for someone suffering from cancer. Then we spent almost one month preparing the application for the visa.
It’s really hard. Also the requirement form for a suitable applicant is extremely demanding. I spent more than 2 hours to study it almost everyday. I even got several consecutive sleepless night for it. I was so expecting for spending the summer vacation with them. I thought my life would be so different if I could go there. Yes, definitely it would be different. I could spend almost like 3 months with Joe and Ann. I can be totally different for that. I could be changed from inside to outside. I was so ready to go. I even ignored my boss’s orders and instructions. I felt like even though my body is here but my soul and my mind is already there. Joe and Ann also did spend a lot time to help to prepare all documentation I need for application. They even take great risk by sending me some secretive and private things to me so I can get sufficient documents for the application.
Well, with all the effort we made for this application of visa the end is still disappointing. I got denied. I was so upset. When Joe and Ann called me for the result of application I didn’t even know what to say. I had to pretend to be ok with accepting this result. I knew they would be very disappointed and upset for that. I didn’t want them to feel worse for that. Through the phone I could sense that they were upset. I knew we missed each other so much. We were so ready to meet again.
It’s almost been 2 weeks past since I got denied and had last conversation with them. I really miss them and am ready to apply visa for second time. I am determined to meet them again, got faith on it. Meeting them is not coincidence. They truly enlighten and inspire my life. Thanks Joe, Thanks Ann.