Thursday, February 24, 2011

gare d est

A million things fly through my head as I look forward to traveling to China next month. I keep re-watching "The Longest Way" (please visit TLW is one of my all time favorite works of art. The man in the video and blog had long ago won my total heart, if I know my luck I will at some point in my life thank him personally. Part of my travel is to feel a bit of the awe he has for China.

One of my earliest memories is crying in a Chinese restaurant near Times Square as my father was trying to explain to me the "poo poo platter" was edible. It was the night I learned to use chop sticks from him - I still use them the same way, its not correct but its how he taught me.

I'm overwhelmed with excitement at the fact that I will get to be part of a university campus and spend time with Chinese law students. The amount of history I have been trying to absorb to appreciate their legal system only makes the whole thing feel more amazing. I do not understand, I am going to understand more.

I am on a guided trip with other invited students. We will be stopping at many major tourist attractions and staying in Government hotels. Its not what I want, that's not how I travel. I'm used to sitting on a curb watching hordes of tourists being ushered through practical set scenes. After they pass life goes back to normal and I get up and walk around surviving on the graciousness of locals with patience. I hate that I am in a tour group. Which is why I know this is just my first trip, not my last.

But on that note I am scared that my wandering might be on hold for a while. I worked very hard to get two thirds of the way through law school. Since starting at Albany Law I have run two marathons, travelled through a dozen countries and filled my head with about a ten foot shelf of books. Unfortunately, as good of a life as that is, my pace is catching up with me and I think the only adventure awaiting me after China is a desk in an office... something I've never been quite great at.

If the law degree doesn't pan out I think I could handle a year surfing in Cape Town or an L.L.M. in Beijing - maybe get a grip on Mandarin.

I'm going East.