Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Away we go....

This is my last blog post before embarking on an 18-day journey to China. I depart on Thursday morning and officially have entered the extremely excited-yet-nervous phase.

I'm traveling with the
Yale Alumni Service Corp (YASC) and the main purpose of the trip is to volunteer in Xiuning County, which is in the Anhui province. Xiuning (pronounced "Shu-ning") comprises 9 towns and has a population of 274,000. It's located about 5 hours by bus west of Shanghai.

The YASC is organizing a summer camp for the kids of Xiuning -- I'll be helping with chorus and book club. There are a ton of different activities being offered, from photography to harmonica. Over 200 people, all somehow affiliated with Yale, are going. Many are traveling with spouses and kids -- I'm going solo. But like a contestant on Survivor/Top Chef/The Bachelor/any reality show would say, I'm not going there to make friends.

I'm going there to WIN. WIN CHINA. Well, not really. And of course, I hope to socially connect with at least some of my fellow travelers. But if I don't, that's okay. The resort where we're staying in Xiuning has its own karaoke bar, so I'm sure I can keep myself occupied there.

After a week of volunteering in Xiuning, the group flies to Beijing for three action-packed days of sightseeing (The Great Wall, Tiananmen Square etc). Then I will fly on by myself to Hong Kong for the final three nights.
For the detailed itinerary, click here.

This trip is coming at just the right time for me -- I have been feeling stalled professionally and personally and an international summer adventure will hopefully invigorate me for the fall.

And now, some amusing Mandarin idioms, courtesy of
Chinese for Dummies:

gua yang tou mai gou rou: to display a lamb's head but sell dog meat, i.e. to cheat people

da ao jing she: to beat the grass to frighten the snake, i.e. to give a warning

che shui ma long: cars flowing like water and horses creating a solid line looking like a dragon, i.e. traffic

Hu shuo ba dao: to talk nonsense in eight directions, i.e. to be full of crap

I will have internet access for most of the trip, thanks to my iPad...not sure if I'll have time to blog, but I'll do my best!