My beautiful young cousin Annie has decided to leave the country and go to China to teach English for (at least) a year since she's got the travel bug bad and she just graduated college and job offers aren't abundant over here. She's the younger sister of two brothers in that family and I would venture to say the favorite child (sorry Mike and Danny, I calls it like I sees it.)
She made a stop in California last weekend on her way out of the country so our family's representatives on the west coast got to see her for a couple days. I especially got to get some quality time in before she left and only teared up a little after dropping her off with our other aunt. (This is not being overemotional as I did practically raise her, after all.)
While everyone is proud of and excited for her, there was also some sadness to see her go and a little nervousness at the remoteness and mystery of her destination. (The city she is assigned has reportedly almost 5 million residents, yet no listing in the Lonely Planet. A few lines on Wikipedia. This seems odd.)
Needless to say I was happy and relieved to see her online the other day and we chatted for a bit and she was safe and sound in the city she was going to be in for about a week before she went on to the mystery city. She had spent the night in a South Korean airport, was sleeping on a bed with no mattress, and still hadn't heard much about her final destination but was all in all excited and comfortable.
A small portion of our conversation:
Annie: im actually trying to decide between staying in xian and going to the mystery city right now
Caitlin: how's that going?
Caitlin: any more on the mystery city?
Annie: just that its "very traditional"
Annie: "NOT modern"
Caitlin: i mean, they've seen whities, right
Annie: i dont know, as compared with shanghai or beijing it sounds like a relatively reasonable alternative
Annie: but xian is small enough that its not terribly polluted but there are a ton of fun options
Annie: apaprently jian, despite the size, has a pretty good chance of just having nothing there
Annie: which would be interesting
Caitlin: i don't know annie, you've got a good amount of mountain goat in you
Caitlin: if anyone could dig that it'd be you
Annie: but i really want to learn mandarin, and being a female in such a "traditional" place could mean that i am not allowed to have a social life
Annie: haha, true story
Caitlin: i mean, they've seen whitie before, right?
Annie: apparently at least one
Caitlin: was it male or female
Annie: but i dont get the feeling they are used to them or that they would be ready for a white woman like me
Annie: i feel like in rural, traditional china drunk american girls are frowned upon
Caitlin: i love you
Caitlin: girl after my own heart