Tossing aside the notion that retirement is a time to slow down and take it easy, a Washougal couple is preparing to set out on what they anticipate will be the adventure of a lifetime.
In a matter of days, Pat and Ernie Suggs will leave their comfortable home and close-knit family, which includes six daughters and seven grandchildren, to spend the next year as English teachers in China. At the moment, they know very little about what lies ahead.
They have yet to be told the specific number of pupils who will be taking their classes, the English knowledge base of those students, or what teaching tools will be available.
“We might just have a chalkboard and a piece of chalk,” Pat said.
What they do know is they will be instructing Tianjin University students, receiving a stipend, and living in a small apartment located within the city of 10 million people that is situated 50 miles south of Bejing.
There will be no oven, no clothes dryer, and no access to Facebook, YouTube or Internet blogs, most of which are censored by the Chinese government. With no vehicle, they plan to bicycle or walk everywhere.