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Archive for January, 2011

I leave my apartment to cross campus and its desolate. The East gate is no longer open, and most of my favorite restaurants are closed and boarded up. Its a strange time to be in Beijing.

The largest human movement is taking place right now, as people return home for the Spring Festival. According to the South China post, “The world’s biggest annual migration of people – which authorities estimate involves more than 2.8 billion person-trips on highways, railways and airlines heading home for family reunions from January 19 to February 27…”

This holiday makes Thanksgiving travel seem like any other weekend, with the average person in China making at least one round trip. Most of my Chinese friends are long gone from Beijing, and their semester won’t start again until the end of February.

With Beijing running as a shell of a city we will be heading to Yunnan province for two weeks. We could not have classes during this time period anyway, as most of our professors are also preparing to head home and celebrate the Year of the Rabbit with their families.

For anyone who is interested below is an overview of my trip, I will be posting photos when I return!
http://www.thebeijingcenter.org/undergraduate/yunnan/

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I have been back in Beijing for a little bit over a week now, and three weeks back in the States really put things in perspective for me. During the four months I was gone from home, not much had changed; all of the streets and buildings looked more or less the same. In the three weeks I was away from Beijing a new bakery had been built around the block from my apartment; the convenience store I frequented had been moved down a few stores into a remodeled store, while a new glasses store had taken its old place. Countless renovations had occurred over the past few weeks.

I’m glad to be back in Beijing, and I’m looking forward to what I expect will be a challenging semester. My courses at The Beijing Center for the Spring term are:
1. Chinese 102
2. China in the World Economy taught by Frank Hawke (in the first group of exchange students after relations with China were normalized)
3. Modern Chinese History (from the Opium war to present) taught by Zhao 老师 4. Daoism taught by Dennis Deng (guided meditations at the end of class) 5. Political and Economic Reform taught by Russell Leigh Moses http://blogs.wsj.com/chinarealtime/tag/russell-leigh-moses/

I’m excited for the challenges of a new semester, and to engage with some amazing faculty.

In a week from Saturday I will depart for Yunnan province, for a two week academic excursion. We will have home stays with at least four ethnic minorities and I will be doing a research project on 茶 (cha; tea).

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