I’m finally moving to China. My first visit to China was with American University’s Washington Semester Program in 2006. Since then, I’ve returned to such places as Tibet, Chengdu, Beijing, Yantai, and Qingdao, the beer capital of China. I look forward to revisiting a couple of those cities, and I plan on visiting many more. I’ll be “stationed” in Guangzhou, near Hong Kong, Macau, and Shenzhen, some of China’s biggest and most modern metropolitan areas. This should be different from the outer ring of Beijing, the beaches of Yantai, and the helplessness of Tibet. I won’t know until I get there.
Before I go, I must do a few things: call insurance companies and banks, get an international driver’s license, pack, buy translation software, get electric adaptors, see friends, and many other things. If you ever plan to vacation outside the country, there’s a lot you need to know. If you ever plan to LIVE outside the country, there’s even more to do. If you want to know, just ask and I’ll give you the rundown of all the necessary tasks.
I booked my ticket last night on Continental Airlines, Asiana Airlines, and China Southern Airlines, and I’m already planning more trips around Southeast Asia and that part of the world to 42 cities in over 20 countries. I plan to learn Mandarin while I make some money teaching English. I plan to get back in running shape and have a lot of fun before I come back to the US and start graduate school. This is my one time in life to explore, to take pictures, and to experience the world, seeing all its accomplishments and all its failures. I think I like Asia because it’s not just a little different. It’s so different that it makes you realize how different we are and how much we need to learn about each other. There are very few similarities between Cleveland, Ohio and Guangzhou, China. I can’t wait to figure out the differences and keep track of everything I see and hear.
The goal of this blog is to keep a journal of everything I do and to make sure I keep in touch with everyone from other parts of the world. I want to upload pictures, videos, links to related websites, and anything I can think of that will help me remember my trip and help others share it with me. I hope to post descriptions with everything I post. If you are interested in seeing something, make a suggestion and maybe I can take a picture for you. If you just want a better description, let me know. If I’m lucky, I’ll get to speak with locals about their views of the world, their local customs, and anything else I can learn. If I’m able to record these conversations in English or with subtitles, I hope to upload them. Most of what you’ll see and hear is standard–food, music, new friends, buildings, bars, beaches, sports, animals, and nature–but some things may surprise you.
Stay tuned! If I can keep this blog going, I should have tons of information and media on here by the time I get back. I will provide contact information to whomever asks me. However, I won’t know that information for a while. The organization that invited me has to train me and give me an apartment. I will purchase a smartphone or a prepaid cellphone, which might not always work perfectly, but we can use Skype, too. Sometimes, Facebook and Gmail are not accessible. Therefore, Skype and my phone are our best options.
34 days and counting,