Tomorrow I head out on my "foreign" adventure for the summer. I put that in quotes because I've been in China for a few weeks now, but I feel like tomorrow I'm really heading out into China. Living in an expat community with my family makes it super easy to get around and to communicate. Starting tomorrow I'm on my own, in an unfamiliar city, and I'll have to try and make this all work. I think it'll be harder than Paris was last year, because Paris really was so easy. So much of what I experienced in Paris reminded me of living in Europe as a kid, right down to the black currant gelato which reminded me of drinking Rubana at my old piano teachers... but I digress. Paris, really was an easy experience. French and Spanish are close enough that I could fudge my way through reading some things, and the rest of the time we were in touristy enough areas that I didn't worry too much. Also, classes were easy because, with the exception of my harmony class with Mr. Bonet, all classes were in English. The dorms were also easy because it was the Spanish house, so I could fudge my way through that with out too much trouble. Tianjin, well, I think that things may be a little different.
I'm excited to get to see China through different eyes. Living in the dorms, potentially with other students (I'm not really clear on that yet) will be really a new experience. There will probably be some culture shock on my part as I've not lived in a situation like this before. I'm also thrilled because so much of this will be covered by my grant from BYU. For anyone who ever might even think they might possibly have something they'd want to do that an ORCA grant could help fund you really ought to apply. The application is really easy and the proposal you need to write is pretty short and straight forward. I've also been lucky because I really hit the jackpot as far as a faculty mentor goes. Dr. Saville is going to be in Tianjin at the same time as me, and while I don't expect to necessarily see him every day or anything, it'll be nice knowing someone there. I'm also really thrilled to be able to study with Dr. Wang. I heard him perform Fall semester and absolutely loved listening to him, and now to get to spend a few weeks studying with him and learning about Chinese flutes will be so cool. He already has two picked out for me, so I expect I'll be able to get up there and get to work. I don't have a lot of time, and this is really a rare opportunity so I want to get everything I can out of it.
While up in Tianjin hopefully I'll be able to do some exploring as well. I'll miss having a group to travel with like last summer when we went around Paris and explored Versailles and Chartres. However, it'll be really fun to explore around Tianjin and also to go into Beijing. Apparently there is a new train from Tianjin to Beijing that was just opened that cuts the trip down to an hour. That's pretty impressive, and I plan to take advantage of that one. Tianjin itself was heavily colonized by the Europeans, and I've been told it's pretty cool to bike around and visit the different sectors. The architecture in each sector relates to the nation that colonized it, so there should be lots of cool things to see.
The bad news for all of you is that I can't access blogger up in Tianjin, so you'll just have to wait with bated breath until I get home. I plan on writing the posts, because I've found my posts from Paris to be a really entertaining journal, but they just will all get posted much later. I may end up down in Hong Kong for a few days at some point, so if you are all very very lucky there may be a few posts then, but don't count on it. Bigger chances are that you'll get to read far too many posts after I'm back.
I think that makes for most of what I know about what I'll be doing up in Tianjin. I'm not really sure what to expect, but I'm excited to get started and I'm sure my time up there will fly.
Here at home things have been busy and fun. I've made two trips to the orphanage; bought a skirt, some watches and some jewelry; played countless games of dominion with the boys; watched more tv than I should; practiced a little less than I should (however, I've spent every minute of that practice on Chant de Linos, and in my mind one good hour of Chant de Linos is like two hours of regular practice, just sayin'); went swimming with Morgan; helped officiate (or something) at the coldest track meet in the history of Suzhou; watched a Living Legends concert and ran into none other than Kory at it (we were both rather surprised to see each other in China); aaaaaaaand enjoyed spending time with my whole family together before Trent goes into the MTC. What a list, and that only catches part of what we've done. The time has flown, I thought I would have all sorts of time here, but boy, it really wasn't very long at all. It's kind of weird to have Trent going into the MTC. As the oldest child I've done a lot of the firsts in the family, and so it seems odd that he's going first for everything with missions. Well, first for now since I'll probably beat him home.
So, there you have it. The events of the last week or so, and something to make you want to come back and see how things go for me up in Tianjin. See you all in June!
Here's an image of the Tianjin news tower, I thought it was pretty, and since I don't yet have pictures of my own, I figured I'd have to settle for swiping them.