July 31, 2010

Away we go.

Anticipating all the China is and what it will be like reminds me of being a little kid at the state fair getting ready to go into a fun house. It's filled with so many outrageous things and it's impossible to know what's around each corner. In fact, the more I've read and learned about China the less I know what to expect. China is such a huge, dynamic place amplified by a gargantuan population -- there's no way for me to begin to fathom what the heartbeat of that country feels like.

I'm so ready for it. I'm ready for the unexpected, challenging, and uncomfortable bits that will hit me after 27 hours of travel time that starts  tomorrow. I am oddly at peace with my willingness to throw myself into something so different from anything I've ever known. China and the US are like day and night (literally). With a 12-hour time difference, I'll be exactly opposite of my regular schedule.

I don't have all the details worked out for my first month there. Aside from my very first night in Hong Kong, my friend and I don't really know where we'll stay. I have my fingers crossed that all will be fine with our visas. We don't have our tickets to the mainland. And I'm very alright with it all. There is no way that it can't work out... Plus, I have a fantastic local friend who is happily helping us sort through the bureaucracy at the consulate.

Right now I'm putting my luggage on one last diet. It's all underweight, but my 48 lb suitcase + 22 lb hiking backpack + 20 lb handbag  = approximately 70% of my bodyweight. I carried it for two blocks today and wanted to cry. So I'm purging more. It's so tricky to pack for multiple seasons.

My small little pharmacy is not getting purged, however. I'm prepared for any ache, pain or digestion-related adventure that may be in my future. I can't wait for the dumplings and street food and insects on sticks (ok, so I can't say that I'm "excited" for insects on sticks, but if the opportunity presents itself, I may not turn it down).

I don't know what China will be like. I don't know what I'll learn from it, but I know I'll certainly come back with an education. I'm really looking forward to Chinese hospitality and my job at the university. Though, it will be strange and a bit awkward being one of maybe 25 in 1.5 billion people with blonde hair and blue eyes. 

Take care, America. I'll be back before you know it.

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