The Balance

  I said it in my first post, but this city really becomes something else at night. This might be my own biases coming out though. Some of my favorite memories from Shanghai will be associated with its nighttime, and the people I met while exploring the streets. That’s one of the most important parts of my experience, now that I’ve had some time to reflect on it. The people are what kept me so interested and curious about the …

Old Towns in Yunnan

Let’s talk a bit more about this authenticity thing. This is something I touched on in my last blog post, but the questions authenticity creates have surrounded me daily while studying abroad in China. Take, for example, my most recent trip to Yunnan province. It’s pretty far from Shanghai, bordering a number of Southeast Asian countries and home to a number of minority ethnic groups. Yunnan is a space that profits a lot off of its culture and history. The …

Xi’an and McDonald’s

The study abroad program that I’m currently on has an independent travel week in early October. For the whole week, I was class-free and exploring the country. The only downside to it all was the rest of China, doing the exact same thing. The independent travel week coincided with one of China’s Golden Weeks – a holiday allowing Chinese citizens to take a break from work and meet up with family and relax. There’s also a lot of domestic tourism …

The First Nights

It’s weird how often things repeat themselves. A month ago, I experienced the bustle of Shanghai Pudong Airport for the second time. Three years have passed since my first encounter with the place, and the advertisements, people, and weather might be different, but there are always constants. Let’s take scale, for example. If I were to say that Shanghai is “big”, I feel like I’d be falling right into a cliché. It’s a city. It’s big. Duh. Clichés exist for …