Summary: I travel a lot.
About the trip:
Three years ago, at around this time, I was preparing to leave for Beijing, China for the first time. In Beijing, I lived with a host family, attended a Chinese high school and, after the four month semester ended, I made a promise to myself to improve my Chinese and return in the near future. I am now preparing to return to China for a semester of intensive language immersion. I will be living in Hangzhou, a city an hour outside of Shanghai. The city has been described as a sort of paradise on earth by travelers in the past. The people that I know who have been there have not given such rave reviews, but so far I haven't heard anything too negative. The city is a cultural hub and is built around a large lake, 西湖, aka west lake. I have heard the lake is beautiful, touristy, and of course swimming is a bad idea. I will be taking Chinese-related classes through the CET-Middlebury program and will be living in a dorm at the Zhejiang University of Technology with a Chinese roommate. There are supposedly about ten of us on the program, and we are required to take a language pledge to only speak Chinese for the semester....we will see how that goes.
Stops along the way:
My program starts on Feb. 14th, but I am leaving Boston on January 28th. I will first go to Banda Aceh, a not so touristy city in Indonesia, where, last year, three of Oberlin's international fellows were from. I am really excited to see them again and don't know much about Indonesia, except that the people there seem to be awesome, so that will be an interesting experience. I will then fly to Beijing for two days to visit my friends from my last semester abroad and see how the city has changed. Finally, I will visit Oberlin's Chinese fellow from last year, who was also one of my teachers. I will stay with her family in Shanxi province during the Chinese New Year and then, from there, fly to Shanghai to meet my roommate.
Things I will miss:
bagels, pizza, chocolate, icecream, spaghetti, salad, burritos, taco (the cat) and biggles
Well, that's it. Sorry if you did not make that list, it's nothing personal.