Friday, July 13, 2007

end of the school year

Apologies for the extended silence. I've been taking care of all those fun end-of-the-semester things, such as exams, grades, and, most importantly, my plans for next year. I will be moving to the Chengdu University of Technology in, as the name implies, Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province in what is considered Southwest China, about 16 hours southwest of Xi'an by train. I'll have pretty much the same financial, living, and teaching arrangement (up to 16 hours of class per week) there as I do here, and when I visited the city a few weeks ago I liked it much better than where I'm living now. The campus was nice with lots of trees and other greenery and a man-made lake or two to sit around and study or what have you, a stark contrast with the dry still-under-construction campus I live on now. A change of scenery will also be nice, not to mention providing me with the opportunity to learn about a different part of Chinese culture.

Before I move to Chengdu, though, I get to travel. First, I'll probably be heading to Xinjiang province in the far west of China, hopefully flying from here to Ürümqi next Tuesday if I get my visa extension in time. From there I'd like to head west to Kashgar and the border with Pakistan, then back along the Southern Silk Road. How far I take that will depend on timing - I need to be back in Xi'an around July 31 to start the international part of my vacation.

The details are still fuzzy but if what my boss is telling me is true, the ticket the school is buying for me should have me arriving in Indianapolis on the first of August. I'll spend most of the month in Cincinnati and Illinois, probably leaving for Chengdu between August 26-31. I'm very much looking forward to seeing everyone - it's been a long time and this online communication just isn't the same.

Well now I'm going to get to buying my plane ticket for next semester. If there's anything you want from China, don't hesitate to ask - I should have plenty of room in my luggage - just please don't ask for all the tea. They don't like that.

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