The adventure begins early tomorrow morning with a flight from Little Rock to Chicago then from Chicago to Beijing. I'm not looking forward to the travel; but, like a small child around Christmas time, I can't wait for all this to start.
In reality, this adventure began months ago with an application. Aramark, my employer and the company providing food service for the 2008 Summer Olympic Games (the 14th Olympics for Aramark), opened up the application process months ago. I applied, not really expecting to be chosen. I met all the qualifications but am only one of thousands of qualified chefs from all over the globe. I felt my chances were slim to none. I don't know what stood out on my application or resume but I was chosen.
The process since then, the past few months, has been a whirlwind of shopping, interviews, physical exams, US Embassy registration, the works.
Now, the shopping is finished, the passport and visa secured, plane tickets purchased, and bags are packed.
My only fear is the language barrier. I have lived outside the US before and am fluent in Portuguese because of the experience. Unfortunately, I speak absolutely no Chinese, and my efforts the past couple of months to learn at least a little have proven fruitless. This will be challenge leading a team of Chinese cooks. It will be intersting to see how this aspect of the experience unfolds.