Miscellaneous Reflection 2: Summary


Now that I’m back in the US, it’s time to look back on the whole of my trip to China. Unfortunately, it’s one of those experiences that goes by slowly, but then is over far too soon. I really enjoyed the trip, and I look forward to going back to China one day, whether for […]

Miscellaneous Reflection 1: Haggling

Of all the unique cultural things one has to get used to in China, I think one of my favorites was haggling, which is not something I would have expected. I try my hardest to avoid confrontation in just about every situation, so arguing with a stranger about something is  certainly not something I would […]

Miscellaneous Reflection #2


One of the biggest things about being a foreigner in China is that you tend to stick out. There just isn’t anything you can do as a Caucasian to not stick out. It also means that people make presumptions about you, one of the biggest being that you can’t speak Chinese. While at times this […]

A Diamond in the Rough


Over the course of my stay in China one of the greatest things I enjoyed about the culture was trying all the food. It in many ways reflects my own cultural heritage and upbringing with its emphasis on the importance of food, that I regard sampling the local fair as an essential part of experiencing […]

The Walled City

Way back when, in our first excursion out to Shanxi, we had the opportunity to visit the ancient walled city of Pingyao Pingyao was fascinating.  As you can see from the video, the walls are classic stone fortifications, backed by a thick layer of earth.  Inside, most, if not all structures are also stone.  And […]

Miscellaneous Journal #3 – Three Visits to a Thatched Cottage

No matter how quickly China races to some undefined goal of progress, I don’t think it will ever lose sight of its cultural heritage. The afternoon of my last Tuesday in Beijing, I went to Maliandao Tea Market to bring back some souvenirs for my family and myself. Inside a blank, gray, industrial highrise, I […]

Miscellaneous Journal #2 – The Inner Mongolian Steppe


The Mongolian Steppe Over the course of my stay in Beijing, I feel like I have become more and more assimilated into an increasingly drab urban life. Every morning, when I check the weather, I look out the window and am pleasantly shocked if I can see more than a hundred feet out of my […]

Ryan vs Wolf

So, out of the more notable experiences of our adventure was a little match of Mongolian wrestling between Ryan and… a man who killed a wolf with just a rock.  I’m not kidding you, this happened.  Actually, we all had the opportunity to do some Mongolian Wrestling; once I process those videos, they will be […]

Miscellaneous Journal #1 – Buddhist Temples


The Temple of Heaven During my stay in China, I’ve had the opportunity to visit many temples, and was shocked by the temples’ stylistic similarities. Each temple, especially the Buddhist temples, tended to guide the worshiper through a series of increasingly elaborate halls, alternating with vast courtyards, culminating in a shrine to that particular shrine’s […]

I cannot sink, therefore I swim


Well, I’m home.  I suppose I suspected it to more of a bang than a fizzle.  Still, here I am and happy to be. I feel like now, as it is fresh in my mind, is the time to reflect on the experience as a whole.  Going into this program, I had reservations.  On a […]