Monthly Archives: July 2010

T-minus 2 days…

…and feverishly counting. (No really; got typhoid and Hep-A vaccinations yesterday and my arms still ache.)

I’ve moved a handful of times in my life.  A couple of handfuls, actually.  I know the drill– pack everything that isn’t going to be essential in the next [month, semester, year]  into boxes and deposit it with Mom and Dad who, quite generously, allow me to stable my 11-million boxes of books in their U-store until the day when I actually have my own library. Pack everything that is essential into a suitcase or two and pray that you haven’t forgotten anything important.

Speaking of packing suitcases, here’s a fun story about Packing For China and essential items (male readers beware: herein follows talk of Feminine Sanitary Articles):

I have limited amount of luggage space, partly due to the restrictions of the airlines, partly due to the restrictions of the program, and partly due to the destruction of my largest suitcase which saw me to Massachusetts and back so many times by a mold infestation in my previous apartment. I’m left with the mid-sized and carry-on versions. These suitcases are the type that roll and have the extendable handle; the handles have bars that run all the way down the inside of the back of the suitcase, and are separated from the luggage articles by a piece of flimsy material which lines the suitcase and zips into place.

The other important thing to know here is that Feminine Sanitary Articles are available but not terribly good in China Proper, so as part of our Informational Packet the ladies in the CTLC group with which I am travelling and training have been informed that we should bring at least enough toiletries and sundries to last until we can get to Hong Kong, which will likely not be until October.

The upshot of all this is, the bottom of the bag has these gullies created by the bars that run the full length. Usually I solve the problem of the uneven suitcase bottom by stuffing these gullies with socks, undergarments, etc. but this time around I’m killing two birds with one stone and filling the vacant spaces with as many sanitary napkins as possible, then laying the fabric back over and zipping it back into place.

The result? I now no longer have gullies in my suitcase, there is a flat bottom upon which to place my sweaters and skirts– and it completely looks like I am attempting to smuggle maxi-pads and tampons into the PRC.

Awesome.

Well, it’s back to packing for me, and cross your fingers that I don’t get stopped at the airport for suspicious-looking sanitary napkins lining my suitcase.

Embarkation

It’s hard to know where this adventure began.

Was it in March , when I received the rejection from Teach for America that spurred me to start applying for teaching positions in various exotic locales? Was it sophomore year, when I made the choice to graduate early instead of heading abroad confident that the option would come around again once the degree was in hand? Or was it when I started taking Chinese classes in college, knowing full well I would never be satisfied with merely classroom language; that I would someday have to make the physical journey in order to complete the educational one?

Probably all of the above. Whatever the cause, here I am, days away from hopping a plane to (LAX, Seoul, then) Beijing and beginning what will be a year spent teaching, learning, travelling, and–of course– eating in China.

My hope for this blog is that it will be informative, introspective, and regular; barring that, I will accept semi-regular and slightly wacky.  I’m actually quite terrible at chronicling (this, by the way, is a big fat disclaimer) but I’m hoping that the somewhat heightened accountability of keeping an actual blog as opposed to a journal will keep me a little more focused and allow me a place to share my experiences with friends and family.

This is writing a lot to say a little, but anyway, welcome to the China Monologues, and I hope you stay for a while.