Look, I’m almost three months behind in posting. I’ve got to start from somewhere.
At some point I will add city/regional guides but I will purplely summarize my experience in Europe as thus:
Europe was beautiful. Sometimes I would find myself half-numbly ambling down the classically cobblestoned streets, soaking in the beauty via osmosis, unable to sustain anything else but that typically American expression, a vacuous smile.
There was so much that contributed to the perfection: the standard novelty of a new environment, the breach of certain naïveté, the fulfillment of culturally cultivated fantasies. And being young and vibrant and being surrounded by all that was young and vibrant, and having all of that shimmering vibrancy reflected back onto and all around you.
What I simultaneously try to avoid thinking about and yet can’t help thinking about are the exclamation points, such dizzying highs that I don’t even dare to fully recall everything that happened for fear of even echoes of the rib-cracking hollowness that would gape at me afterwards from empty adjacent train seats. Sometimes I slip and a succession of memories collages into a montage – a glimpse of lips turning up at the corners, the feel of golden silk trapped between my fingertips, the sound of black waves engulfing my splayed body –
But I’m almost three weeks into Shanghai and I haven’t even documented the culture shock. For now I’ll say that in the opinion of someone who flew out of CDG, “Paris of the East” is a horrible and misleading nickname. The air pollution is always visible and I have a mucusy cough that has yet to disappear. Nightlife is convenient and sometimes completely free. I’ve met more Europeans in these past three weeks than I have in the eight weeks I was in Europe. Somehow I am maintaining equal levels of Chinese and French practice. I start helping brand a new line of hotels next week. I am teaching English to supplement my scholarships in order to stay financially self-sufficient.
– I am really, really busy.
(Also Chinese internet is just…)
So I doubt I will be able to maintain the same quality as I did last semester. But I definitely have a lot of material so I will post whenever I get a chance!