Realizing the other day that in 6 months, I will be home from China, I at the same time noted that I still have 5+ months to wait. And with most of the "work" done for now to get ready, I need to find a better way to bide my time. What I have done to amuse myself is start creating a reading list like I did for Russia. At first I thought there wasn't much in the way of literature translated from Chinese (there isn't) but there are quite a few memoirs and historical narratives that interest me.
So far the reading list looks a bit like this:
The Man Who Loved China - Winchester
A Comrade Lost and Found - Wong
Postcards from Tomorrow Square - Fallows
China Witness Voices from a Silent Generation - Xinran
Factory Girls From Village to City in a Changing China - Chang
Last Days of Old Beijing - Meyer
China: It's History and Culture - Morton
China Road: A Journey into the Future of a Rising Power - Gifford
Inadvertently, my reading list trends a bit heavier on more recent Chinese history. That happened with my Russian reading as well. I suspect that that's because it is what I can remember, but I will of course make a point to learn more about the thousands of years of dynastic history as well.
Over the last weekend, I watched two excellent films set in China. The first was The Road Home which was just such a beautiful, simple film about love, loss and devotion. I really enjoyed it more than I thought I would. The other was a documentary, Last Train Home, which chronicled the yearly plight of nearly 130 million migrant workers in their attempts to return home for the Chinese New Year, but more specifically also documented the troubles and angst of one family in particular. The parents, also migrant workers, are separated from their children all year, but for the two weeks they return home for the New Year. The children grow up with only their grandmother and expectations are high that they will do better than their parents so that they have a better life. It is hard to believe that this is actually present day China we are peeking into. It was a troubling but very well-presented story.
In other news, I continue to celebrate the ever climbing airfare prices now that I've purchased mind and locked it in. My same fare is running about $200 higher now. I also noted that there's been a schedule change since I booked, and I arrive into Beijing a half hour later than I planned. Oh well, not much I can do about that now.
I've also put two orders into Athleta, finding things like capris and light-weight wicking tops that would be suitable for touring a warm late summer China without overheating. Any excuse to shop....