Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Meet Me at the TRA Overseas Chronicles

#DailyWings: “Travel isn't always pretty. It isn’t always comfortable. Sometimes it hurts, it even breaks your heart. But that’s okay. The journey changes you - it should change you. It leaves marks on your memory, on your consciousness, on your heart, and on your body. You take something with you…hopefully, you leave something good behind.” -Anthony Bourdain

Almost every summer ever since I can remember, I have made a month-long trip to China to visit family, travel across the country and embrace the culture and heritage of my ancestors. You could say that China (particularly Shanghai, where I am based) is my second home.

Early tomorrow morning, I will be taking a 15-hour flight from NC to Detroit, and then from Detroit to China. I've had barely enough time to recover from my busy weekend to and from Ohio, but I couldn't be more excited. You would think that after years of traveling to the same country I'd get used to it, even tired of it - the same old city with steamed pork buns. And to a certain extent you'd be right. I am afraid that half-growing up in China has led me to take these trips, and thus my own unique culture, for granted. It is deeply ingrained in my daily lifestyle and my values, whether or not I fully realize it. I don't experience the same marvel and wonder and culture shock that another American college student would while traveling abroad in Asia.

I may not be able to look at China through new, searching eyes or develop a raw perspective of the culture I grew up with, but I can still keep an open mind and see China for what she is. Experience all that China has to offer. And that is exactly what I intend to do when I step foot into Asia come forty-two (or so) hours. 

Thus, during the month of July, I will not be here at The Red Angel blog. Instead, I will set up camp at TRA: Overseas Chronicles and document my travels in China once again. (Blogs are blocked in China, as are social networks, but a friend of mine will update the OC for me.) The Overseas Chronicles is a branch off of my main blog (this one here, TRA!). At the OC, you can follow me whenever I travel – photos, stories and culture, you name it. To the right of the OC blog, you can view my different travel chronicles under Categories. You can read about my Late Nights in Shanghai from last year as well if you would like. 

I return to China this July to carry out my own investigative journalism research project. I will be doing research and conducting a sort of unofficial "case study" at a local hospital in Shanghai. My project aims to find out what life at the hospital for a chronic patient is like, and what sort of social support services this medical center provides its patients and their families. As a Journalism and Psychology double major, I love how this project is able to fuse two of my passions together along with the research aspect. 

I would love for you to come follow me as I conduct my research and bond one-on-one with China. It's going to be one heck of a ride - and a long one too! I will return to the United States (and thus The Red Angel blog, here) at the end of July. Until then, 我们去旅游吧!


* * *

One last thing - weeks ago, I signed up for the Poetry Pact Blogfest! This is going to be a short one due to my lack of time (I still haven't completely packed! Yikes!). 

At The Word is My Oyster, Lydia Kang introduced us to the Poetry Pact group, which comprises of individuals who have promised to write poetry on a regular schedule - which varied from member to member (sort of like ROW80, I suppose). 


I added my link because y'all know I love me some poetry even if I'm not a great poet myself. Thankfully, this blogfest doesn't require any poetry-writing. Instead, we are supposed to write about a secret pact we had with our friends or a secret group that helped us through tough times. 

Back in 5th grade, I had three best friends. We were silly and talked about boys, makeup and other important 5th-grade topics. We named ourselves The Key Club, and each of us had our own secret charm, or "key." Together, the charms formed a bracelet when hooked onto the same chain. Pretty cool, huh? 

Well The Key Club didn't survive past 5th grade, but I remember the club always made me feel like I had a group of best friends whom I could count on. The club made me feel included and secure. 

Check out the other participants' entries here!



Wendy Lu


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9 comments:

Angela Felsted said...

Great post! I always did like friendship bracelets and other keep sakes that remind me I share a common bond of friendship with others. It's nice to feel included in something like that.

Alyssa said...

Have an awesome time in China!! That sounds so cool! :D And I really like the quote at the beginning of your post! Have fun! :)

Laurel Garver said...

Thanks for joining in the hop, Wendy! Loved the story of your circle of 5th grade pals. I had something like that in 7th and it does make all the awkwardness of growing and changing easier.

Can't wait to hear about your China travels!

Laurel Garver said...

Thanks for participating in the hop, Wendy! I had a circle of friends like that a little later--7th grade. It did help so much during those awkward years between being a kid and being a teen.

Hope you have safe travels to China!

Tanya Reimer said...

Gosh, have a safe trip girl. Looking forward to the stories when you get back.

Donna Hole said...

I have to laugh a little at this post Wendy. I've lived in the US my entire life, and have not "toured" any of it. I don't think a person truly appreciates the country we live in (or visit frequently).

I've been camping several places around my home town, including the coastal attraction Fort Bragg and the Red Woods, but I find those places boring. Much like my home of Oroville, CA, which is one of California's best tourist places.

I've a feeling natives of NYC, Miami, Chicago, LA, Hollywood, etc might feel the same. Why should Beijing, Shanghai, London, Paris, Tokyo be any different. To the residents, its just home.

I'm glad you are finding a way to integrate your studies into your annual trip; that should make it more exciting. I will try to remember to read your excerpts at your other blogsite. I am sure I will find your adventures exciting.

..........dhole

Lydia Kang said...

What a sweet, secret group! Thanks Wendy for participating!

Wendy Luane Barber said...

Have a safe and wonderful trip Wendy Lu 2. I know you'll find something there to awe you. When I travel to new places here in the states, I am still awed. I like the idea of your research. Take care. I await your updates when possible.

Oh to Be a Muse said...

Hope you're having a great time in China, Wendy!

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