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I can’t believe that, in just under 48 hours, I will be on my way to China. In the final days I have to prepare for this trip, I am thinking about all the things that come to mind when the People’s Republic of China is brought up. It occurs to me, that although the majority of the products I own are made in China, I know very little about the country or the people who reside there or share a common ancestry. That’s a shame. When the opportunity arose for me to take this ten day study abroad trip, I almost declined it. (I was awarded a fellowship to study leadership in diversity and conservation at the same time in Vermont.) However, as the time passed and the thoughts wavered back and forth, my passions to visit foreign lands, learn about different cultures, and grow through the diverse and meaningful experiences combined to make the decision I had to make increasingly clear. With one day left to register, I found myself walking briskly through the downtown streets of Seattle, finding my way to the Chinese relations office to hand in my passport and visa application form.

Honestly, I have no idea what to expect, but for me, that’s the beauty of it. I have no preconceived notions of what I need to learn nor what I want to learn. I just trust I will. This will be my first time in the East, and I welcome the new experience with open arms.

As China monitors and sensors Internet activity, I will have little to no access to email, Facebook, and other means of online communication. Therefore, if you try to reach me, there’s a good chance that I won’t respond until my return on August 10.

Until next time…Peace