“It’s like we’re already there,” said my colleague Liz Pogust who I met in the San Francisco airport awaiting our departure for Beijing. Of course, on the other side of me, a very “authentic” Chinese gentleman was ka-too-ing (spitting) and clearing boogers out of his nose in the trash can. I thought to myself: well at least he is using the trash can. I got the pleasure of sitting across the aisle on the plane from the as before mentioned gentleman. Some highlights so far: he has tried to disassemble the seat, eat ice from a cup with chopsticks, wear free airplane headphones without plugging them in to hear the movie he was watching, and stare out the window from three seats over during take-off. Yes, welcome to China.
I’m writing at 50,000 feet as we pass over Russia downward toward Beijing. And so it begins. An epic journey of six months visiting the motherland.
This blog will feature tidbits from my studies, adventures, musings, and travels in China. While I certainly can’t promise the kind of attention I gave the blog in 2005 when I wrote almost twice daily, I would hope to keep up with it for your sake and mine. I perhaps may never get a chance to write a book like Peter Hessler’s River Town: Two Years on the Yangtze, but I can try my hand at exploring China to provide hidden insight into a scary-but-friendly rising superpower (maybe?).
First some of the basics, I will be spending January through Valentine’s Day in Beijing and then transferring south toward Shanghai to Hangzhou for the spring (until June). The Beijing portion of the trip is run by CET Academic Programs based out of Washington D.C. Middlebury College administers the academics in Hangzhou and CET runs the residential portion as part of the Middlebury C.V. Starr Schools Abroad. The summer is still in question but if you have any ideas, let me know.
I’d love to hear from anyone and everyone who reads the blog as well as anyone headed out my way in China. I’d be happy to meet up with you! firstname.lastname@example.org