Sunday, September 18, 2011

Reflection on an Asian Journey

I’m back in the United States after almost two months away. I go home to Chicago on Friday, ending my "time away from home." So, how do I feel?

I had an awesome time in Asia. Sure, I had to come home early. But I wasn’t really planning to do much the last week. Rest, relax, finish up at work, eat some last eggplant. The return home has been outweighed by all the wonderful things I saw and experienced. I’m really happy I went.

This trip included my third extended stay in Mainland China, as well as visits to many fascinating and amazing places. I’ve learned a lot about China and about the world, and I’ve gained unquantifiable experience for my life here. My work was great, and I saw and went through so many unforgettable and great things. Even the medical experience that came at the end of my Asian odyssey, I think, has its value: if anything, I learned a lot from it.

I now have fifteen weeks’ aggregate experience of living and studying/working in China; I can translate Chinese-language documents and I have a daily life routine in China. I can live in Mandarin, and know basic Cantonese. Shenzhen, as weird as it is, feels a bit like home to me. It will never be New York or Chicago. But it holds a piece of my heart.

I definitely hope to go back at some point in the near-ish future. Singapore is an amazing, fascinating and inviting city; I’m already considering pursuing an internship there at some point (probably two years from now), or even a job after graduation. I would also consider doing research on Singapore if the opportunity arose. I’d also like to see more of China, but more of Asia in general.

I don’t think I’ll live in Shenzhen again. Visit? Sure, G-d willing. In fact, if I end up in a career where I go to Hong Kong a lot, I probably will. But live, and live more than a few weeks? Unlikely. Will I even live in Mainland China? I don’t know; I can’t predict these things. But I enjoyed my time there and will not forget it.

I am grateful to have had the opportunity to go on this trip, and to have had the chance to see and do what I did. I won’t ever forget it.

I’ve got an exciting school year coming up. Expect more on this blog. I’ve decided to save my post on translation for a few weeks from now.

Guys, thanks for your reading and your support. It’s really great when someone tells me on IM, “I liked your post,” or when someone calls me to make sure I’m doing OK. It makes me feel awesome, and I love you guys for it. When I recover, I am going to make you all fat with baked goods.

Also, my parents and sister were awesomely supportive and helpful. Thanks guys! I love you always! 

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