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Help support Adam in getting to China
$2,200 raised
37% of $6k goal
32 contributors
181 Days running

I'm Katy and this campaign is for my little brother, Adam, aka Mr Dog. He's not that little any more, and he's also not a dog, but either way I'm the one who's writing his story down.

Adam's been having a hard time. His marriage broke up two years ago, and he spent a whole summer living in an Airstream trailer  (I keep wanting to say Sodastream, but I know that isn't it) in the middle of a field outside Saugerties, New York. Being Adam, he made it look fun - he set up chairs and a little awning outside, and referred to the field as 'the Estate' - but it was hard and lonely, and not very nice when he was going to work in the mornings having spent the night by himself in a field. 

He said he was prepared to stay till September in the field, but after that, in upstate New York, it was going to be a bit much. When he did get a little apartment. I video-called him and he walked me round it, and I said, 'Oh Adam, it's really cute!' 

'Yeah', he said. 'There's just one thing'. 

'What's that?' I said.

'I lost my job'. 

Now, Adam was a nurse. A kind of brilliant, genius, highly professional, yet maverick nurse. The journey to that place had been long. As a kid he started out in an improv comedy troupe; in the family we all thought Steve Martin was just like Adam, and then when Back to the Future came out we all thought Michael J Fox had stolen his shtick. But then one day, completely  out of the blue as far as I  could see, he quit the improv team and went and joined the National Guard! To get his medic training! (As a Quaker! They let you off machine gun practice if you do that.) He was really passionate about it, and stayed with the National guard (and other things - he worked briefly once at IBM, but there was a lay-off, last in first out) - until one day he woke up with a wife and two little kids and thought, this is a bit much with the summer residentials, and he retired from the National Guard.

After that, two gruelling years of nursing training, and the rest is history. I've hardly ever known someone to work as hard as Mr Dog has worked over the years. Always given it 150%, but we are living in history, and these are interesting times.

I reminded him recently that practically his best skill as a nurse was making people laugh. 'Ah yes', he said, after a pause. 'The killer bedside manner'. Well, he needs to be working with people, not with boxes that just need ticking. 

So anyway, he had lost the job. Things were serious. And he is no way going back into healthcare any time soon - he's got a brave face, but he's in burnout from healthcare.

Having nowhere else to go, he headed 900 miles south of anywhere he's ever lived before, to go and stay with our sister in the trailer she was sharing with her partner, her brother-in-law, and several dogs. He's been down there for over a year and a half. At one point he had a new job, but it was also in health care and he couldn't do it. Our sister has moved out into an actual house, and Mr Dog's now living in the trailer with just the brother-in-law, the brother-in-law's cat and dog, and his own dog, Maya. 

When we started talking about this seriously, Adam had just been taken on as a substitute teacher by a private Quaker school in Virginia Beach, for a day rate that wouldn't feed a hamster (though the Quakers are beyond lovely). Even though I'm struggling myself - I sent him a hundred bucks so he could fill the tank and actually get to work, and buy some food. 

He even went to a food bank one or two times. 

So it's not an Airstream in a field, but it IS a dead end, and it's a dead end in a place 900 miles from home. He keeps saying he's 'a middle-aged guy out of work, with a patchy history and no real credentials' (though he does have two degrees, just one shy of a girl band), and no amount of telling him he used to be just like Marty McFly has cheered him up.

The only thing that has cheered him up, and this wasn't until just a few weeks ago, was an idea he had, that he could go to China ('far, far away where my past can't hound me') and teach English.

I said, 'Well, at least the one thing we know you'll love will be all the strange food!'

'What!?' he said. 'that's the main thing I'm worried about!'

I reminded him about that wilderness summer camp he used to go to where they would cook slugs and grasshoppers in batter.

'Oh, yeah', he said. 

I said to him, you need to RECONNECT with that funny, brilliant, adventurous, mercurial boy who would eat absolutely anything.

So I put him onto my friend Bethany, who is currently an English teacher in Nanchang, China. (Looking on the map, it's a little like the Finger Lakes, but don't be fooled.)

Let's put Mr Dog on the MapBethany gave him all the dirt, and told him the Westerners who make it out there are the oddballs, the people who weren't having a great time at home. He began to perk up a bit. People who are open to new things. Or even really NEED new things. Who know how to put other people at their ease and make them laugh. 'It's like an island of misfit toys', he told me, hopefully. 

So all we need to do now is get him the hell over there! To Nanchang! He's only done gone and already SIGNED THE CONTRACT -  it has to happen now.

Here is what he needs, to get himself to his new workplace, his new life - to get him BACK TO HIS FUTURE!! 

He needs a passport.

He needs a security check, which he has to pay for.

A physical and vaccinations. 

A visa.

He needs to settle his accounts (especially rent). 

He needs to drive his truck (Big Bird) and his dog (Maya) to Colorado and leave them with my niece.

There are probably other things he needs - a suitcase, maybe. A phrase book. 

He reckons he needs about $5,000. 

Can we do it? Help Mr Dog get a new life in a new, very old, country? It's gonna be the MAKING of him, you'll see. We can make him start a blog... 


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