It is Friday, August 6th. I awoke this morning at 5:22 A.M. and wondered why I had woken up at this gloomy, pre-luminous hour. As I lay in bed I suddenly became aware of the small, unimportant fact that I LEAVE FOR CHINA IN 4 DAYS. I was instantly accosted by several accompanying thoughts and worries. Even as I type this, on the floor in my yellow room in my small town, a suitcase sits behind my laptop agape with little slivers of summer, autumn and winter clothing hanging out of its mouth.

I thought an interesting exercise prior to  my relocation to Beijing might be to make a list of all the predictions, precautions, and words of advice given to me by people who knew a sister, daughter, brother-in-law, cousin of best friend, coworker of brother’s girlfriend’s older sister who had spent some undefined time in China in the past.

Some of the advice/comments I received:

  •  After 8pm, they turn off the water and you have to pee in a bucket
  • all the clothes in China have sequins and are unappealing
  • “Well, it is a Communist country, you know…”
  • “Your parents are letting you go over there?!?”
  • Everyone wears socks with their sandals because it’s so dirty in Beijing
  • “Do they have some sort of buddy system in place?”
  • All of the alcohol over there is terrible tasting
  • The city is so polluted that you cannot go running
  • “You will be so sick of Chinese food when you return!”
  • It is beautiful in China
  • “My grandson is learning Korean!”….
  • The Chinese are constantly celebrating holidays
  • “You will be a celebrity over there!”

Some of these little tidbits of information may very well be true, but some may be farther from the truth than others.  The point of collecting them is that over the course of the semester I will most likely discover how many of these are rooted in the truth.
Well, that is all I have for now. The next time I return to this blog I should be safely nestled in my dorm room in China! Unbelievable.  Wish me luck!

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