off to a new adventure!

Saturday, August 30:  The big day has arrived!  I’m off to the People’s Republic this evening at 5:00 on Air China.  I’ll arrive in Beijing after what I imagine will be a grueling 13 hour and 40 minute non-stop flight.  When I land at 6:40 p.m. on Sunday, August 31, I’ll spend the night in a hotel at the airline’s expense.  In the morning, I’ll catch a flight to Nanning City, Guangxi Province, People’s Republic of China, arriving at 10:40 a.m. on Monday, September 1.  I’m told that one or two of the students from Guangxi University will meet me at the airport and help me to get settled in.   I’ll be living in an apartment on the campus, and everything is supposed to be supplied for the teachers.  Supposedly we’ll be given bicycles to use, and a swimming pool is on the campus.

Though this is the third time I’ve done this, I’m still nervous.  At the same time, I’m equally excited.  I’ve read scores of books and seen numerous movies about China over the years.  I visited Beijing in the fall of 2010 for 5 days.  I lived next door in South Korea from 2010-2011.  I’ll be happy to be back in Asia again.  It’s such a different world than what I’m used to, I imagine each day I’ll be immersed in exotic and interesting experiences.

I don’t yet know the situation in China, but I’m hoping I’ll be able to blog.  If I am able to, you’ll find me at catbird in china.  It’s my understanding that Facebook and YouTube are blocked.  I guess I’ll figure it all out when I get there. 🙂

Goodbye, for now, to America!!


making the most of a rainy day: a beach walk, brunch at el convento & the museo de arte

notes from north america

Tuesday, August 12:  Today the weather forecast is for sunshine in the morning followed by rain all afternoon.  We decide we’ll take advantage of the outdoors in the morning by walking to Quiznos for coffee and taking a long walk on the beach.

Ocean Park/Condado Beach Ocean Park Beach

Ocean Park/Condado Beach - to the west Ocean Park beach – to the west

We see a local man wading in the surf, and he’s quite a photogenic fellow.  Sadly, I’m always afraid to approach strangers to ask if I can take a photo.  I feel like it’s invasive, so I don’t ask.  I wish I could be bolder in this regard.

Ocean Park/Condado Beach Ocean Park Beach

Ocean Park/Condado Beach Ocean Park Beach

surf's up surf’s up

waves of the Atlantic waves of the Atlantic

the foamy ocean at Ocean Park/Condado Beach the foamy ocean at Ocean Park Beach

As we walk close to the point where our curve of beach ends, we can see Condado around the corner on its own arc of beach.

Around the point, views of Condado Around the point…

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coming full circle: summertime amidst virginia’s flowers

Monday, August 4: Last summer, when I first arrived back in Virginia after two years away, I visited Meadowlark Botanical Gardens around this same time, in early August: meadowlark botanical gardens & the new korean bell garden. Here I am, a year later, visiting the gardens again as I prepare to take off again to exotic lands.

I finished teaching my summer classes last Friday, and now I have a bit of a break before I go to China.  Mike and I are going on a week-long trip to Puerto Rico from August 9-16; we both could use some fun and relaxation after everything we went through in July.  It looks like I’ll be flying out from here on August 30 to get to Nanning by September 1.  Most of the rest of my time will be filled with wrapping up details here in Virginia and getting ready to go.

This morning, I take a walk through Meadowlark Botanical Gardens to see the summer flowers in Virginia one last time.  I’m sure Nanning, the capital city of subtropical Guangxi Province, will have plenty of pretty flowers of its own, so I’m not worried.  I’m sure both Puerto Rico and China will have plenty of interesting sights to see!

I begin my walk at Meadowlark at 10 a.m., as soon as they open their doors.  I’m delighted to find this sculpture has been moved closer to the entrance, and it’s now surrounded by pretty flowers.  It used to sit in a spot off the beaten path, and with no flowers around it.  I love its new home.

This sculpture has a new home.
This sculpture has a new home.

Click on any of the pictures below for a full-sized slide show.

For practical reasons, I probably won’t be posting any more photos on this blog for quite some time.  My upgraded media storage expires on August 13, and as I’ll only be in Virginia for less than two weeks, it doesn’t make sense to renew it for now.

idyllic scene
idyllic scene

If you want to see my travels in Puerto Rico, I’ll be posting on this blog: notes from north america.

For my time in China, you can check out a blog I started when I visited Beijing in fall of 2010:  catbird in china.

I’ve heard Facebook is blocked in China, so I won’t be able to post anything on there.  I’m not even sure I’ll be able to blog.  But if I am, these places are where you’ll find me!