All about Kaye Benner (毕凯悦)

你好,朋友们! 这是我的一个博客文章。我是毕凯悦!

Hey Guys! My name is Kaye Benner. I’m a sophomore at William and Mary and currently in the process of getting my International Relations and Economics double-major. As a farm girl, I never had the opportunity to travel much, so you can imagine the anxiety I’m feeling about my plane taking off for Beijing on June 11th! Perhaps excitement is more the word..

I’m from Western Va, about an hour West of Charlottesville and 30 minutes West of Staunton. I grew up on a 600 acre Angus breeding farm my family owns. I was lucky enough to own several of my very own horses, dogs, cats, fish, and even chickens throughout my 18 years at home. In describing my hometown of Deerfield, “country” is an understatement. Cell phone service is barely existent enough to send a text, and the closest grocery store is a 30 minute drive. That said, in describing Deerfield, “beautiful” would also be a word of understatement. I live in a valley within The Valley (the renowned Shenandoah.) Our farm stretches between, and is enveloped by, beautiful mountains. It’s both a peaceful and gorgeous place.

As you can imagine, Beijing is going to be an immense culture shock for me. I’ve spend a little time in New York, but other than that, I’ve had very little exposure to the big city life. I’ve never hailed a taxi alone, I’ve only been on a few subways, metros, or trains, and I’ve never been on a plane. I’m not a paranoid person by nature, but there are definitely some things about this experience I am not only apprehensive, but also of which I’m maybe even a little fearful!

That’s why over the next two months and 21 days (yes, I’m counting), I plan on preparing myself as much as necessary. I know there are some things I will not be able to prepare for. What if I don’t like the food? what if I get lost? Robbed? WHAT IF my plane crashes? I’ll stop.. but these ideas have indeed penetrated my thoughts.

With all that said, the reason I want to go easily drowns out any anxiety. For the 2 years I have been at W&M, Chinese has been my favorite class, and 于老师 my favorite professor. I’m fascinated with, of course the language, but also the people and the culture. Now that I have the opportunity to actually live in that environment, to speak the language with natives, eat the food, and wake up, work, study, and sleep with the culture I have learned to love from even across the world.

Photo on 2012-10-14 at 15.58 #4

Time to get ready!