Venturing halfway around the world may seem like a dream, but for avid writer and educator Denise Mose, an opportunity became a reality when she left the southern comfort of Huntsville, Alabama to teach abroad in Liu Shi, China.
It was her travels to the Far East that inspired the 47-year-old to transcribe her expedition and publish a book titled, “Blind Faith.” The title originates from Mose’s decision to lean on her spiritual faith throughout her journey.
“From take-off to touch-down, I spent 17 hours in the air and flew straight to Shanghai on Air China. The program flew me first class,” Mose recalled. “I didn’t know anyone, and I had no friends there. It was just me and my faith.”
Mose was a business communications professor for 14 years at Full Sail University in Orlando before she embarked upon her journey abroad in December 2014. It was the suggestion of a friend that put teaching in China on her radar.
“I needed a serious shift in my life, because I wanted more,” she expressed.
After some consideration, Mose met with the U.S. consulate in Atlanta. Following a two-hour interview, acquired her work visa and boarded a flight to the country with over one billion in population.
And like many who travel overseas for an extended period of time, Mose described her biggest challenge was the fear of the unknown.
“I guess the biggest fear was not knowing what to expect, but I had a wonderful time and a beautiful experience,” said Mose who cited attending a Chinese wedding and eating a black egg for the first time among her fondest memories.
Upon arrival, Mose met with her Chinese roommate and school tutor, “Ivy,” and was then taken to an American-cuisine restaurant in the country.
As she later immersed herself in authentic Chinese cuisine, she was shocked to discover that Western society myths and misconceptions existed. For instance, fortune cookies are actually an American-inspired treat offered stateside with Chinese meals and take-out. They are not a part of Asian culture.
But aside from the delectable food she experienced, Mose described her favorite take away from the trip were the relationships she built teaching college students. In addition to their studies, she said they all had a deep infatuation with Western culture and so she taught them American slang, greetings and pop culture.
“I taught them everything from pizza, to hamburgers to Michael Jordan,” Mose remembered.
And she learned more than a thing or two from them and the country as well. After nine months of learning and practice, she became fluent in Mandarin.
“We started from ABC; one-two-three; red, blue, yellow; and from that it took me nine months to learn Mandarin,” said Mose.
The total duration of her trip abroad lasted 15 months, with Mose returning back to the states in March 2016.
Since her travels, she utilizes an agent who places her as an independent contract writer for A-list events such as the Sundance Film Festival, Walt Disney Dreamers Academy and the Academy Awards.
Upon her return, Mose decided to chronicle her endeavors in a self-authored book she says describes as, “An airport read.” The endeavor took four and a half months to write and an additional one month to complete editing.
Mose hopes Black people will take away an important message from her recorded adventure.
“You owe it to yourself to try. Traveling is its own education,” said Mose. “ It’s one thing to see the Great Wall of China in a book, but to feel the Great Wall of China and actually see where the marks are is different. If you don’t do it, it won’t happen, so do it for yourself.”