It happens every year. Just about the time when the leaves are all on the ground, and the days get longer. I get a touch of the wanderlust.]
Back when I was younger, that wanderlust consisted of a desperate need to get out of the city. But now that I’m older, it consists of an intense desire to travel to far flung places.
Lately, I’ve even found myself awaking from dreams that found me walking down my favourite Parisian streets.
I love to travel but with moving to a new city, and the Husband starting graduate school, there hasn’t been much of it this year. Which is quite the contrast to where I was last year . . .
One Year Ago – Puerto Rico
November 19th, 2011 is a date that I will always remember fondly.
It was one year ago that the Husband and I found ourselves wandering the streets of Old San Juan; a place that I had wanted to visit my whole life.
Old San Juan turned out to be even more beautiful than I had ever hoped it would be.
And although there are many other places I want to explore, if someone were to tell me that I had to return to Puerto Rico, I wouldn’t be the least bit upset.
Because frankly, it was kind of magical.
And I wouldn’t mind having another mojito again
But that was then and this is now. And although, we don’t have any big trips planned in the next little while, we do have one massive one planned a year from now!!!!
One Year From Now – TGW Goes to China
That’s right friends, pending vacation approval from work, this time next year we’ll be in China!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Admittedly, this trip to China came as a totally unexpected surprise to me.
During the second year of the Husband’s Masters program, the whole class goes to a foreign country to undertake field research. Traditionally, that country has been in South East Asia, except for one year where the trip had to be moved to India due to political unrest in Thailand. The research trip is of three weeks duration, and the plan has always been for me to tag along and play tourist.
Confirmation of the trip locale did not take place until a few short weeks ago. But until that moment I had been indulging in visions of tropical beaches, delicious seafood, and fruit juices galore.
Then the Husband came home and told me that he found out where we would be going. I braced myself, ready to hear “FIJI!!!” and instead heard China. Initially, I was stunned. His Masters program had never taken students to China. And besides, where was I going to find a tropical beach there? Not to mention the fact that although I had always wanted to go to China, I had anticipated going as part of a tour group.
I was excited but I was also decidedly scared.
I must confess most of that fear came from a trepidation over being thrown into a place where I wouldn’t be able to communicate. Because although I’ve traveled a lot, I also speak English, Spanish, and French fluently, with a passable level of Italian. So with those four languages right there, I’ve managed to assure myself that I will be understood in most parts of the world. But not in China.
And definitely not in Jinan, the capital of Shandong Province.
Although, I had never heard of Jinan before, it’s actually large city with a population over six million, located halfway between Beijing and Shanghai. It’s known for it’s natural springs and many universities (the Husband will be doing his research in cooperation with Shandong Normal University). And thankfully, he will be assigned a local translator to assist him in any way possible.
That last part was what made me feel a whole lot better about the trip and truth be told now I’m just excited!!!! So much so that the Husband may have gotten tired of random questions like “Have you ever seen a panda?” HA! Obvious segways into talking about our China trip.
I’m looking forward to exploring the remnants of a great and wonderful civilization.
Marvelling over a culture so different from my own.
And maybe even seeing a black and white bear or two.
It’s going to be one big adventure friends, and although it’s still a year away, I’m ever so happy to have a big trip to which to look forward!!!!
Note: links to all the original picture sources can be found on my Pinterest account
Question: Have you ever been to China? Are you Chinese yourself? Any advice for me?