掰掰 Twenty-Ten!

I decided over the break that I should have a “farewell last year!” post, in the grand tradition of various ways to celebrate a new year. I realized that I only lived in the U.S. for two weeks of 2010! Crazy, huh? And I was out of the country for a grand total of 14 months, twelve in China and two in Europe. Woo! But now I’m back in school and…oh wait, that’s something else. But now I’m back at home and trying to find out what to do with my life. To celebrate, let’s take a trip down memory lane…
I landed in Qingdao, China on September 27th, 2009. This is a picture of the mountain that was right behind the first apartment I lived in (I know, “in which I lived,” so sue me).

Then there was my first trip to Beijing back in February ’10 for Chinese New Year…(to read through the entire trip, click the “Liveblogging Beijing: Day 2,” etc. links at the bottom of the post)

My trip to Hong Kong, a place I loved, but two of my friends came away unimpressed…

The start of my fashion editor career for Redstar…(and the middle…and the middle part 2…and the end)

The ups of teaching in China, and the downs

Hanging out with friends (I can’t find this post, haha oops…)

Hanging out in 青岛 (that’s Qingdao, fyi)…

My trip to Hangzhou

More fun in Qingdao and time spent with students

Going back to Beijing to visit the Great Wall

Seeing the Terracotta Warriors in Xi’an…

And seeing pandas and the giant buddha in Chengdu…and, of course, seeing the Bund in Shanghai and visiting the World Expo there.

Yeah, so wow. That was a lot. I can’t really believe this year included visits to the Forbidden City and Summer Palace as well as contemporary architectural icon the National Center for Performing Arts (the egg-shaped building). Also climbing the Great Wall, seeing the Terracotta Warriors, clubbing in Shanghai and Berlin, shopping in Hong Kong and Florence, getting stupidly lost, learning basic Chinese, making friends all around the world…I did all this and…and I’m still completely dependent on my mom and dad. Joke! Well, I mean, not really, but I’m not as bitter as that sounds! In all seriousness, this past year, now that I look back on it, was pretty spectacular. As long-term followers know and as you can find out by clicking on the “downs of teaching in China” link, this was easily the most emotionally, psychologically and physically trying experience of my life. BUT…I have to say, I’m pretty sure it was all worth it. It wasn’t perfect, but it didn’t need to be. Blah blah blah “moral of the story.” Uplifting anecdote, emotions, tears, sunshine. Unicorns for everyone!

Haha, happy new year, everybody!

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