I wrote this post a while ago, but never published it. Updates about Kunming are coming soon!
Since coming to the U.S., I have been asked, “So, how’s China?” a million times. I usually start off by saying that it was a great experience, blah, blah, blah. Then I dig into my purse, pull out my photo book (Made on a Mac!), and shove it in that person’s face. I’d rather let them get a visual for themselves before bombarding me with questions. As people look through the pictures, their first response is always, “This book is awesome! How did you make it?” (Answer here.) Then they usually ask a few of the usual questions…How was the food? Are you eating frog? Did you have any American friends? What is this? (As they point to a picture of mashed potato mountains covered in blueberry sauce or an ice castle lit up in neon lights). It’s a very enjoyable way to have a conversation, because everyone seems to hone in on different pictures, so I always get to tell different stories. (You should be able to click on the pictures below to see a larger image.)
My favorite page in the photo book is the map page, where I explain that I lived in Dalian (Yes, it is very close to North Korea). I can also point out that when I go back I’ll be living in Kunming, located in the the southwest. It’s like moving from New York to Texas. Different food, different culture, different people and different climates, but still the same country.
On the map I also marked all of the places that I visited. Looking at the map also helped me to realize how much traveling I did. At times I felt like I wasn’t maximizing my time, but when I look back at my pictures I feel very satisfied with the places that I went.
- Shenyang, China- October- to visit PiA fellows Kat and Jason
- Harbin, China- January- with my parents and brother Ben
- Chengdu, Jiuzhaigou & Songpan, China- January- with Dalian friends Matt & Eric
- Bangkok, Chiangmai & Pai, Thailand- January- with Matt, Eric, Margaret and some by myself
- Luang Prabang, Vang Vieng & Vientiane, Laos- February- with Matt & Eric, met up with my mom for part of the time
- Shanghai & Hangzhou, China- May- with my Gaelic football team and my parents
- Dandong, China- June- with a Chinese tour group
- Seoul, South Korea- June- to visit Jin and Yoonah, friends from high school
- Kunming & Beijing, China- July- by myself